Launch: Brynes Lake in Baldwin County off Highway 225. Launch Cost: Free. Route: West out Brynes Lake, across the Tensaw River to Gravine Island Sandbar for a break. Then northwest toward Mobile River, then north into Big Briar Creek up to the first tributary to the right. Explored that tributary then went north up to Little Briar Creek which was blocked by a log jam. Explored a few tributaries up by the railroad tracks, then returned to Brynes Lake. Distance: 27.3 miles round trip. Average Speed: 3.6 mph. Time: Approx 7.5 hrs. Pace: Leisurely to moderate. Weather: 70-90 degrees, sunny to partly cloudy in the afternoon. Kayak: Today I tested out the Hobie Mirage Adventure using Turbo Flippers and have come to the conclusion that I like my Outback better than the Adventure.
(1) Above left. Typical view in the upper ends of the Big Briar Creek tributaries. (2) Above right. One of the tributaries was blocked by the Hideway river shack. Nice little place.
(3)(4) Above left and right. Flowers were abundant. Both of the above photos are of the Water Willow flower, aka Justicia americana, noted for its 2 stamens.
(5) Above left. A Prothonotary warbler had a caterpillar in a death grip. (6) Above right. The lubber grasshoppers are out in force again. Too bad they don’t eat some of the invasive species of weeds that are clogging up the waterways.
(7) Above left. Honey bees were hard at work in the patches of water primrose flowers. This bee was carrying quite a load. (8) Above right. While gliding silently along the quiet backwaters of an upper creek tributary, I noticed a yellow crowned night heron perched over head near its nest watching my every move. It remained eerily still, not blinking an eye as I passed closely by.
(9) Above left. Some caterpillars gorging themselves on what I think was iris leaves. (10) Above right. On the way back to Brynes Lake, the marine police were out in force keeping the party on Gravine Island from getting out of hand.