Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Lighthouse Trails, Taking the Redfish loop to the Lydia Ann Lghthouse

Ever since our first canoe trip on Cutters Loop, we wanted to try to go to the Lydia Ann Lighthouse. We had tried once before but had encountered a very low tide and so with the tides and weather both agreable another attempt was in order.
We met Val and Rosie,(See the Lighthouse Trails, Cutters Loop), at the usual put in spot. A shrimp boat was heading our way so we paddled quickly across the Aransas Channel, and entered the first Lighthouse Lake.
It was an incomming tide and so we had plenty of water to clear the oyster bar and we steadily paddled north, looking for trail marker 21. We heard shotguns booming in the diatance, duck season was still on, and so we carefully looked for decoys and hunters as we passed the many blinds.
After about a mile we neared the yellow post for marker 21, but no marker! There was a duck blind next to it and it was apparent the duck hunters must have removed the sign as it interfered with their field of fire,(or maybe they shot it off). Regardless we decided to check out the next sign and sure enough it was marker 20 so we went back to the signless post and entered a narrow and shallow channel. It took us in the right direction and we spotted the island where we had eaten lunch the year before.
Heading east across the lake we tried several narrow paths before finding marker 13 and connected with the Redfish Loop. Thirteen and then fourteen and then a decision. Shoud we go right or left? Right would take us to marker 15 but left looked like a possible was through the cut and maybe would connect to the Lighthouse itself. We choose left and followed a string of crab traps, finally reaching the main channel that led past the Lighthouse and to the Lydia Ann Channel.
As we neared the Lighhouse we saw that there were several large cisterns for holding rainwater. It made sense and the weathered look of the cypress siding added to the charm of the structures. We could see that lights were on and it was obvious that the buidings were occupied. A sign told us and any others that the area was private property, but we knew that already.
Gliding past the dock we reached the point and stopped for lunch. I cast out some cut mullet and soon a hardhead catfish attacked my bait. We ate and talked and I kind of zoned out the conversation as hard head after hard head bit. It was fun catching fish but I really had hoped for a redish.
We headed back into the mangroves and a school of speckled trout exploded around our boats. Mullet jumped everywhere and Rosie neared a reddush egret that seemed to be in a trance. It finally woke up and flew away. It was probably upset with those darn kayakers.
Taking a left turn we found marker fifteen and it was really easy to follow the sign posts. I was tired from all the exertion and so Renita and I decided to pass on the Electric Loop, but Rosie and Val headed off to explore it. Their kayaks are a lot easier to get around in then our canoe and again I though about how nice a kayak would be.
I had to get out several times and wade the boat over oyster reefs but both times were only short traverses. Renita was able to sit in the boat and she used her paddle to steer us right and left and I was soon able to get back in the canoe.
We reached another missing sign post but the path was quite obvious and we turned south,(left), heading for signpost 1 and the Aransas Channel. I threw out my pole and we sat and soaked in the sunshine. It seemed like all the fiddler crabs were on a migration and we watched them march past our beached canoe.
No fish bothered us and I almost fell asleep before Rosie and Val reappeared and headed our way. We saw them get out of their kayaks as they grounded on the numerous oyster bars, but they were to far away to hear our shouts of left, go left! They finally reached us and so I wound in my bait and we headed into the channel where we were greetd by a pod of dolphins! One dolphin breached the surface only ten feet away and I almost jumped as he spouted water into the air.
Renita was turning this way and that as she tried to get their picture, and she did but not of the close one. The temperature was in the mid seventies and a breeze came up, but we were already across the channel and nearing our trucks. We had done it and we both felt good but tired from the six mile trip.
Loading our boats we talked of future paddling adventures. Val and Rosie told us that the ELectric loop was really shallow and that Renita and I should wait for a really high tide before trying it. Saying good bye we headed home from a day well spent. Clear skies.

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