Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paddling a new stretch of Blind River

I read somewhere that the area of Blind River below Airline Highway was a good place to paddle.  I'll have to see if I can find where I read that, because they were right and I thoroughly enjoyed my outing last weekend.

The put-in location is the St. James Boat Club on Airline Hwy in St. James parish.  There is no fee, but there is a kiosk to fill out a Wildlife Management Area check-in card since you're entering the Maurepas WMA here.  You have to have a valid hunting, fishing, or LA Wild license to enter.

It's on Airline Highway in St. James Parish.  If you look on the map you can see that it's in a very rural area.  The middle of a wildlife management area, actually.  There is nothing else around...which makes it very easy to find.
The boat club has 2 concrete boat launches, a large parking area, a rec building and a park.  
I chose to go south from the boat launch.  The river was fairly wide, but the two bridges that I had to pass under made me think I'd probably have the place to myself.
Except for the alligators, of course.  More alligators than I've seen in any waterway in all my kayak travels.  Most were small....4 feet and under.  And *all* of them went the other way as I approached...
And LOTS of birds!  Nice selection of waders...herons and egrets and spoonbills...

Even a few of these Solitary Sandpipers.  I liked this 3-legged one...

More Tri-colored Herons than you could shake a stick at.  And they let me get so close!

Tri-colored Heron
Family of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Passing under the bridges was probably the most treacherous part, what with the dive-bombing Barn Swallows that were nesting under the bridge...

And they were working on the railroad bridge.  They had a pile driver going which definitely interrupted the tranquility of the scene..

This was the railroad bridge you have to pass under.  You very nearly have to duck, even in a kayak.  You could probably get under in a canoe or pirogue, but not a bass or speed boat.

These were the only other two boats I saw...and they must have come from the canals to the south, because there is no way they passed under the railroad bridge.

A natural totem pole
The nice things about this location...for the most part, it's away from population so after you get away from the launch, and the pile driver, it's fairly tranquil.  However, once you do return to civilization, it's nice to find a decent bathroom available.

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