It was a very early Friday morning after being out so late the night before. It had rained the whole day Thursday, and this day had been planned for weeks. It was supposed to be sunny and nice, but I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I first went outside to take the dog for an early morning walk. All I saw was fog. That Friday was supposed to be a day of fun, out enjoying the warm sunshine. How long would this fog be hanging around, and was it gonna mess up the canoe trip that was planned for that day?
There was an hour and a half drive ahead of us, surely this white overhanging blanket wouldn’t last too much longer, so off we went. An hour later, there were still patches here and there. It didn’t make for fast travel and there were even a few close calls – thanks for looking both ways before you turned out in front of me, white diesel that blended in with the thick surroundings! Come ten o’clock, we had arrived and the sun was filling every inch of the sky, it was going to be a beautiful day, a beautiful day for a swamp canoe!
We were told it was a canoe trip, the swamp part was thrown in later. I figured it was a bit of an exaggeration because the lake was shallow or something like that. But, no exaggeration at all, it was in fact a canoe trip in the swamp. Good thing there are no alligators around… or are there, TWRA man who said some live in Memphis? Never mind that, we weren’t in Memphis, back to the alligator-free swamp.
The official description of this trip was, “Deep, swamp canoeing into the old growth Cypress forest of Reelfoot Lake.” This is an area around the lake that is only flooded at certain times of the year and it is not something that a lot of people get to do, so we are very happy to have come across some great Tennessee State Park resources!
I will say, however, the use of the word deep was a bit of a stretch. At almost every time of our canoe trip, we were pushing ourselves through the water using the bottom of the swamp rather than propelling ourselves through the water. And a few times we were even completely bottomed out, having to dig in slightly with our paddles to get through the sticks and protruding stumps. Still a lot of fun, and a great workout!
How it looked when we started.
Just follow the orange flags. Wait, where is the orange flag?
After almost two hours later, we made it back to the start. The boy had long passed us by and was waiting for us where we began. The cousins were a little closer, so the rest of us came in at about the same time. We made it through the swamp with no snakebites, leaches latched on, or overturned canoes. And we did get to see a snake, many, many fish jumping up as we passed over the open water, and even a bald eagle. I thought perhaps I might had even seen an alligator, but then quickly realized it was only a knobby, cypress stump slightly emerged out of the water. Really, there are NO alligators in West Tennessee! Right?
Our canoe was up against this branch.
The water suddenly came to life: fish and plants!
Reelfoot is known for its bald eagles.
A great trip and I think this time next year, I will be looking forward to doing it again. Only next time I am gonna try as hard as I can to get my guy out of the office for a day to go with us!