Caddo Lake Kayak Trip report Spring 2002

Caddo Lake St. Park     Tyler / Forecast    Tyler / Radar    Caddo Lake SP.     Jefferson Texas    

Jefferson TX Map

Summit Day 1998

Caddo Lake Map

Spring 2002 found Gclub heading to Caddo Lake for a 2nd time within a year. Our first trip here was a "catered" canoe trip. This was our first trip using the clubs new kayak's and renting some additional kayak's from the TOC. Everyone worked together to load kayak's onto cars and vans. David-The quiet one , Ken and John all have their own kayak's and brought them along. We ended up with 9 people kayaking! and 11 people in the "club" attending the trip. As usual, several members got to the park late Friday night due to work schedules. Once I arrived, I found the camp site all set up and ready for fun. Members brought many different ideas about camping and touring the lake. A couple members lead by James Our VP of base camp operations, defected to a leisurely tour of the lake on a power boat. They say it was the best $15.00 of the weekend. I believe drinks were served! The rest of us brave souls took our last paddle down the main channel, all future trips will put in at the B & B and take out there as well- saving us the long, boring and quite populated main channel and it's 1.5 hours worth of paddling.

The swamp is wonderful, a fantastic kayak tour and is rated EASY. No fast movement here, just a lazy paddle through moss covered cypress, around flowers and plants and birds.
We left about 10am and had lunch at the B & B prior to making our way to Goat Island and beginning our trip back. We wanted to make a trip around the island however, we were warned that sometimes people get lost and cannot find their way out in a timely fashion. We hope to have a GPS for our next trip in order to explore deeper into the swamp.

Evening brought us to our good old catfish restaurant in Uncertain Tx. Unfortunately, Sadia discovered she is allergic to catfish. The dessert is to die for, Blueberry cobbler topped with copus amounts of ice cream. We were 18 for dinner and the place was swamped. The staff is friendly and easy going, so when we began serving ourselves, coffee and bussing our own table they took it in stride and said thanks for the help. We will definitely return to uncertain Tx.

Caddo Lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was damned in 1900 when oil was found. According to a Caddoan legend, Caddo Lake was formed by an earthquake. A Caddo Indian Chief was warned by the Great Spirit to move his village from the low lands. The Chief ignored the warning and one day while he and his men were out hunting the ground shook. When they returned, their village was gone beneath the water of the newly formed Caddo Lake. There could be some truth to this story. In 1811 New Madrid, Missouri had an earthquake that measured 8.9. This could have knocked down enough trees to form the great raft that dammed the Red River and formed Caddo Lake.

Flora/Fauna: Caddo Lake is a sprawling maze of bayous and sloughs covering, 32,000 acres of cypress swamp. The average depth of the lake is 8'-10 ' with the deep water in the bayou averaging about 27.' An angler's delight, the lake contains 71 species of fish. It is especially good for crappie and large-mouth and white bass. Naturalists can enjoy stately cypress trees, American lotus, and lily pads, waterfowl, alligators, turtles, frogs, snakes, raccoons, minks, nutrias, beavers, squirrels, armadillos, and white-tailed deer.

Jefferson was founded in 1836 and is the 5th oldest town in Texas. The first paddlewheel steamboat, Lama, successfully navigated Caddo Lake and announced Jefferson to the South in 1845, also the year Texas entered the Union. The concurrent births of a transportation system and a state made Jefferson a major destination of the second early wave of immigrants to Texas.
Subsequently, the developing cotton industry and the means to move it to market gave Jefferson the title of "Gateway to Texas". Soon the city's tonnage shipped was second only to Galveston, Texas.  Jefferson's wealth built culture and drew the best and brightest. Jefferson's growth continued through 1872, when again concurrent events led to its decline.
The first of these was Jefferson's failure to become a railhead city at the time that land transit began to supplant water for the inland movement of freight. Second, was the destruction in 1872 of the "Great Raft," a natural dam that formed Caddo Lake. With Caddo Lake disappearing, water trade declined and ended the possibility that Jefferson might get a second chance at becoming a rail center.
Nonetheless, Jefferson with its grand homes and brick streets flourished for some 30 years. Today, it lives again with museums and antique shops, its brick streets clatter with horse-drawn carriages, and its buildings house restaurants that rival those of the paddle wheelers plying the waters of Caddo Lake en route to and from Jefferson. Most guests at Pine needle Lodge visit Jefferson during their stay with us.

Trip Summary:
RATING:  EASY:  Breakfast and Lunch Pack. Dinners are not included: We will be Dining at restaurant Saturday night..

EQUIPMENT: Camping Gear: We will be visiting one of the most pretty lakes in Texas. Plan on mosquitoes, Sun, Rain, Warm Weather, Cool Weather. Recommended: Tent camping, Sleeping bag,  Camper mat, Snacks, Beverages, Sun Block. 

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 20 to Marshall, Highway 43 east to Karnack, then FM 2198 east to the state park and Uncertain, Texas.
Trip Outline:
We will car pool from Dallas-Austin-Houston areas to Caddo Lake State Park, where we will meet up at the Mill Pond camping area.  We will leave Friday afternoon and try and arrive by 7:00PM at the camp site's. Camp out at Caddo Lake State Park (Showers and restrooms) on Big Cypress Bayou. Canoe a 10 mile portion of Caddo Lake in a secluded section where only canoes can go, past a forest of cypress, scores of water birds and beaver houses-the forest primeval. Ideal for beginners.  On Sunday explore historic Jefferson Texas.

 Camping Fee's , Restaurant meals, Kayak Rental.  About $100/person

Trip Schedule/Muster Points: (Recommended Final:TBA)
Fri     11/09/2002 Arrive Caddo Lake State Park. 7-9pm.
Sat    11/10/2002 Breakfast at Campsite .
Sat.   11/10/2002 10am Muster for Beginning of our Scenic trip on Caddo Lake.
Sat.   11/10/2002 Noon, Lunch on island in swamp area.
Sat    11/10/2002 5pm Return to campsite and clean up for Dinner. Dinner in Uncertain Texas at a Catfish place. GREAT eating, Good Beer, Great Cobler
Sun   11/11/2002 TBA Optional kayaking day or "Antiquing" in Jefferson Texas.

 PLEASE RSVP : (email preferred)
Michael Railey
CELL: 469-387-2530