Sunday, August 28, 2011

08/28/2011 - The T

Launch: Cliff's Landing off Highway 225 about 14 miles north of Spanish Fort
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Paddle up Mifflin Lake to explore Squirrel Bayou and "The T"
Distance: 36 miles (round trip).
Trip Rating: Difficult due to distance. There are no closer boat ramps to use.
Time Paddling: 11-1/4 hours
Weather: Slightly foggy at sunrise. Sunny. Paddled with tidal current going upstream and had the current pushing me downstream on the return trip (Sometimes the tide is a valuable thing). Current ranged between 0.5 and 1.0 mph. No waves. Very little wind. Temperature was tolerable as most of the time was spent paddling in the shade.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.

Header image - a docile river dawg watching its territory as this kayaker glided by. "Good Dawg, Good Dawg." Doesn't bark and doesn't chase.

It was a nice cool morning (about 70 degrees). Wisps of surface fog floated across the water. I left about an hour before sunrise because of the length of this exploratory paddle.

The I-65 elevated interstate between Mifflin Lake and the Tensaw River.

Look closely and you'll see a little alligator swimming in the water toward the left of the photo.

There are a ton of short tributaries off Mifflin Lake that can be paddled. This one had a bunch of lily pads.

Guess what was abundant up in Squirrel Bayou and eating acorns?

A grasshopper with an unusual body end that curls up.

A wide assortment of wildflowers were in bloom, including spider lilies, pickerel weed, and others. This photo is of Cardinal Flowers (Lobelia cardinalis).

This is a Swamp Leatherflower or what I call Blue Bells (Clematis crispa) and they were abundant. The Swamp Leatherflower has 3-leaves but don't confuse it with poison ivy.

There were a lot of cypress trees of respectable size like this one that I'm hiding behind. Though it looks big at 183 inches in circumference (DBH), the state champion bald cypress has a diameter almost twice as big (326 inches in circumference). 

Here is a view up the bald cypress. Do you see any poison ivy? Note how the leaf veins are situated on the leaves. Compare the leaf vein structure of this poison ivy to the three leaves of the Swamp Leatherflower. Wikipedia has a lot of good rhyming tips on identification of poison ivy.

Taking a break on the Tensaw River at a unofficial camp site. This would be a good destination for kayakers launching from Cliffs (4.25 miles one way), but not today. Al-Qaeda flies (terrorist like black flies) started swarming and biting me here and the persistent little (CENSORED) terrorized me the rest of the way back to the launch site.

Saw several Barred Owls on this trip. Also saw a few deer at various places but they were too quick for the camera.

The setting sun added a orange hue to the Spanish Moss.

This is what I call a full day kayak trip - from sunrise to sunset. Wonderful trip.

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