Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bogue Chitto State Park

We spent the weekend tent camping in Franklinton, LA at Bogue Chitto State Park. This park was opened in 2010 and is the newest Louisiana state park. There are many different types of trees here and they are all showing their fall colors. This is one of my favorites spots in the park.
We tried to fish on this pier but we both had bad luck. Take another look at the second picture. See those tree branches hanging over the pier? I wish the trees had been trimmed because its not a good idea to have low hanging branches where people fish. I got my bait suck in a tree twice and I ended up loosing it. Then one of the eyelets on David's pole broke! We weren't meant to catch any fish that day, so we went walking on the trails.
These stairs lead down to the lower gorge trail. You can't see our truck from this angle but our truck was parked way up at the top of the stairs. Once you reach the bottom you are surrounded by mature trees, mainly pine and oak. Here's what the trail looks like:
This huge pile of red dirt was at one end of the trail. The top of the pile reaches the park's main road. I felt like an ant standing next to it. I could see footprints going up and down so some brave person had climbed to the top. Red dirt is everywhere at Bogue Chitto and its also prevalent in the surrounding parishes. It had rained recently and there were red mud puddles along the road.
This was our campsite for the weekend. We stayed at #134 in the Bottomland RV loop. The site had a nice large tent pad, a fire ring, and a picnic table on a wooden deck. We had two visitors to our campsite: an armadillo and a raccoon. The armadillo didn't care about us and just walked on by. The raccoon realized we were eating chili for supper and waited nearby to steal from us. We ate supper at the picnic table then packed up the chili and put it in the ice chest. Then we sat by the campfire...that's when the raccoon made his move. He ran on the picnic table, stole our Fritos bag, ran back in the woods and tore the bag open and ate the remaining chips. That's all my pictures from our trip. I didn't take too many this time. I wish we had seen more wildlife. Not sure where we will go next time, stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicot State Park

We spent the weekend tent camping at Chicot and we had so much fun! There are so many things to do here. You can hike, fish, photograph wildlife, canoe, or ride your bike. This is what the roads look like: perfect for riding a bike!
I took the above picture on Saturday morning when we went for a walk to the north boat landing. We didn't encounter any cars, just lots of squirrels and rabbits.
The park is next to Lake Chicot and has two boat launches. We camped near the north boat landing and we decided to walk down the road to see what condition the lake was in. I was so disappointed to see the lake full of half dead lily pads! I really wanted to paddle around the lake in our kayaks, but the lily pads make it so difficult. So we opted out of paddling and decided to explore the fishing pier next to the boat landing.
I was so excited to see these two birds on the pier! The white bird is an egret and the grey bird is a heron. It was a little chilly that morning so the heron fluffed himself up to keep warm. I almost didn't get the chance to photograph these birds...I almost scared them off. I walked around the corner of the fishing pier and was surprised to see the birds. Dave was behind me and I said "Don't move!" in the loudest whisper I dared speak. I got my camera ready as quietly as possible and snapped the pictures. That almost made up for not being able to paddle.
This is the fishing pier that the birds were on. We brought our fishing poles but didn't fish. We were too busy taking pictures!
On our way back to our campsite I saw so many Beautyberry bushes! Birds love eating the berries. I have one planted at my house but I haven't seen any birds eating the berries. I think they like eating the left over catfood and dogfood better...
Spanish moss was hanging everywhere! Natural Halloween decorations.
We wanted to see the south boat landing, so we get in the car and shortly came across deer! We saw two groups of deer eating on the side of the road. They had babies with them but the babies are already lost their spots. Still cute though.
Later on Saturday we went to the Louisiana Arboretum, located inside Chicot State Park. They have a nice visitor center and interactive displays geared towards kids, but we played with them too!
Kids display at the arboretum. Each display teaches kids about something in the swamp or woods. My favorite was the snapping turtle and alligator display. Every time you walked by the dispay, a motion activated sensor would play the noise that animal makes. The alligator one growled!
This is what most of the hiking trails look like at the arboretum. Most trails are mulched to make a nice walking surface, but it had rained the night before and you could tell lots of armadillos had been digging around for grubs. The mulch was scattered everywhere.
The arboretum even has boardwalks going across the swampy parts of the trail.
Look at this cute rabbit! We were walking on trail and I was ahead of Dave and I said "Don't move!". I had already missed a picture of a rabbit earlier that day and I didn't want to scare off this one. I'm glad I got a picture of him!
Now we get to the one bad part of our rained really bad Friday night/Saturday morning and our tent leaked! We were woken up unexpectedly by rain drops falling on our faces at 1:30AM. Not fun. We couldn't do anything about then, so we just pulled our sleeping bags over our heads and tried to go back to sleep. We got up as soon as it was enough daylight and we discovered water in the tent! Thankfully we brought air mattresses to sleep on so we didn't get wet. We had to drag everything out of the tent and let it air dry. We still had fun even when our tent leaked.
Most people at the campground have RV's and some of them came of talk to us that morning. They asked if got wet during the storm and offered to help. My favorite person at the campground was the campground host. He lives at the park and makes sure everything is in working order. As soon as I saw him I thought to myself, "This guy looks like a cross between Duck Dynasty and Mountain Men!". He was one of the people that came check on us Saturday morning. He was nice. That's the end of our adventure in Chicot. Make plans to visit soon, its one of our favorite parks!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tickfaw State Park

Sunday morning we drove out to the Albany/Springfield area near Hammond to visit Tickfaw State Park, one of my favorite parks! This park has many boardwalks venturing out into the swamp. If you're quiet, you will see plenty of wildlife while on the boardwalks. We saw a doe, squirrels, a crow, cardinals, turtles and alligators!
These are pictures from the boardwalk trail off the visitor center.
This crow was being so loud! He probably didn't like Dave and I walking by him. He kept squawking at us until he finally gave up and flew away. I didn't realize how big crows are until I saw him.
Lots of cypress trees and cypress knees.
There were so many Beautyberry bushes along the trails! Cardinals love them.
Now we moved on to the river trail. We saw so many lubber grasshoppers and orbital weaver spiders.
Raccoon tracks! There were several areas of soft mud, so we saw many animal tracks.
We finally reached the Tickfaw River! Dave reached the river first and we heard a big was an alligator getting back in the water! It was sunning on the bank and we scared it off. We saw two alligators swimming in the river and we sat on the bank and waited to see if they would swim back to us. Eventually one of them swam near us and I got a few pictures of him. I'd say he was about 5 feet long. Hopefully I will see some huge alligators soon. On Saturday, we are going paddling in the Blind River. Can't wait to see all the wildlife there.