Saturday, July 30, 2011

07/30/2011 - Bayou Zeast

Launch: Mobile County River Delta (formerly Dead Lake Marina). Exit 22 on I-65, then follow the signs for 4 miles. The Mobile County River Delta and Welcome Center is currently undergoing a massive 1.6 million dollar improvement project so watch out for construction.
Launch Cost: $3.00 (Office opens at 6:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm.) Outside of those hours, go the the guard shack. Must have boat launch pass displayed in vehicle.
Destination: Explore Bayou Zeast. There are no public launches nearby so it requires a 9 mile paddle just to get to it.
Trip Rating: Difficult. Long distance. Open waters. Potential for strong current and large waves.
Distance: 30 miles (round trip).
Paddle time: 10 hours at a leisurely pace.
Weather: Fog in the morning, then mostly sunny. High about 90, very little wind. Tiding coming in. Current about 1/2 mph or less.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.

Header image is a photomerge showing the Dolly Parton bridge. A work crew is putting together a replacement bridge for a railroad trestle about 7 miles downstream.

1) Conditions at the start of this morning's paddle - hot, armpit drenching humidity, and steamy hot. Glasses kept fogging up.

2) A foggy sunrise. It didn't take long for the fog to burn off.

3) Mobile River had minimal current and almost no wind. The I-65 bridge can be seen over the trees on the horizon.

4) The I-65 bridge over Mobile River is widely known as the Dolly Parton Bridge. Its true name which most people don't know is the General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge. The entrance to Bayou Zeast is about 1-1/4 miles north of this bridge on the right hand side (east side).

5) Bayou Zeast is wide to begin with and it seems to go on forever.

6) Further upstream Bayou Zeast begins to narrow.

7) Almost all the area along Bayou Zeast is a low elevation fresh water cypress swamp. Had the water been 3 foot higher, it would have been possible to paddle just about anywhere.

8) There are a couple dozen trees of respectable size in upper Bayou Zeast.

9) It is unbelievably quiet in Bayou Zeast - almost no boats today. It is a rather odd feeling when you paddle by a tree and something goes scurrying up the tree sounding like a squirrel. Instead of seeing a squirrel, you look up only to see a spider with 4 inch legs staring at you from about eye level.

10) It is a tree frog (pun intended).

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