Sunday, June 18, 2006

06/18/2006 – Bayou Tallapoosa

Launch: Rice Creek which is about 4 miles north of I-65 and northwest of Stockton. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Rice Creek to the Dead Lake platforms, then west on Bayou Tallapoosa to Tensaw River. Then south on Tensaw to Two Rivers WMA campground, then east a short distance to Bottle Creek, then south to Bayou Jessamine, then to the Jug Lake platform, then back to the Rice Creek launch site. Distance: 19 miles round trip. Average Speed: 3.0 mph. Time: Approx 6.5 hrs. Pace: Slow. Weather: A little bit steamy in the morning again, sunny until about 10:00 am when it started clouding up keeping the temps more tolerable. Tide was low and the rivers were lower than normal, very little in way of current. Deer Flies (Yellow Flies) persistantly buzzed me but rarely tried to bite.

(1) Above left. The sun starts lighting the day on Briar Lake. (2) Above right. Later in the afternoon, after exiting Bayou Jassamine, the clouds start taking on more serious characteristics. I drove through a little rain storm ten minutes after leaving Rice Creek. Good timing!

(3) Above left. Having not seen these Dead Lake platforms since before last year’s hurricanes, it was a surprise to see them still standing. It was even more surprising to see the platforms still looking almost new. (4) Above right. This is the typical scene for Bayou Tallapoosa and Bayou Jessamine. Both are relatively narrow with mud banks and have plenty of fallen trees to navigate around. I had to do one portage on Bayou Jessamine.

(5) Above left. To be in a narrow bayou with banks high enough that you can’t see what may be standing 10 feet into the woods leaves me on edge, expecially in Bayou Tallapoosa and Bayou Jessamine. Things seem more alive in these areas. The signs of life are all over the mud banks so you will never know what you might see. These look like racoon tracks. (6) Above right. I didn’t see any big ones today, but because of tracks like these, I know there are some gators around.

(7) Above left. Also surprising was Two Rivers campground was still intact and accessible. It is a great place to get out and stretch the legs. (8) Above right. Swamp Mallow flowers were abundant.

(9) Above left. I also checked out Jug Lake platform and took a break there. (10) Above right. One of the things I like about kayaking in Rice Creek and Jug Lake are the cypress trees. A photomerge isn’t even able to capture the immensity of this cypress tree base.

(11) Above left. This is the Rice Creek landing. Launching here when it is dark in the morning is an experience. (12) Above right. Some butterflies laying eggs next to the launch site. If you have never been through Bayou Tallapoosa, I highly recommend it. There is a sandy beach and solid land to get out on where Bayou Tallapoosa (west side) meets the Tensaw River.

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