Ohio Tidbit. The Final Trip " Atchafalaya Basin"
Oct 27, 2015
|I have driven across the I-10 swamp bridge near Baton Rouge LA many times over the years. I have seen the swamp across the 18 mile bridge and always wondered what it would be like to get a closer experience with the swamp.
The official name of this bridge is the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge and is also known as the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge and like any bridge, it provides a way to go from one point to another. Here this bridge carries you over the Atchafalaya Basin from Baton Rouge to Lafayette LA. depending on your direction of travel. Now you know the rest of the story,.
The Atchafalaya River Basin covers over a million square miles of southern Louisiana. The swamp is made up of coastal marsh, cypress swamps and bottom land hardwood forests.
In spring, water floods most of the basin, while in fall water levels leave areas dry. The shallow water and areas of vegetation roots present special challenges for boats navigating this swamp. Cypress trees have large woody roots or knees that project out of the water, making navigation difficult. So those, such as Michael, have a Flat Bottom Boat with motor that has a special drive shaft. I can attest it works great. Stable in the shallow, stumpy, moss laden water and goes about 20 mph when you get back to the main. All of this swamp area is actually called a Bayou, which means it has no current. And is called flat water to paddlers, and it means, quite simply, you will have to paddle the entire trip, or if you are lucky enough to have a swamp motor which propels you across the marshes, stumps and the river of green moss.
On this trip I had the opportunity to do just that. Carolyn’s Son lives in Baton Rouge LA, and is avid Hunter, Fisherman and Boater, and he invited us for a tour of the swamp I have been over but never on. The bridge was opened in 1973.
The photos will tell the whole story, but I do want to say, it was great being out, on the water, through the canals.and the Cypress Stumps. The boat was specially made for this type of water. The motor has a shaft that is protected from damage by the shallow water and the stumps. When the shaft hits a stump, for the very first time, you almost feel like it might be your last trip, but you just ride over it.
When you go through this swamp you will see a River of Grass, separated by Crystal Clear Water, and Cypress Stumps all by themselves and in other places there will be groves of this tree. There is also a lot of Spanish Moss on these Cypress, but unlike the Florida Cypress, these trees live in harmony with the moss, and survive just fine.
When the motor is off, all you can hear is the quiet, with maybe a hint of a very gentle wind or a call of a bird. Peaceful place.
Yes there are Snakes and Alligators that could end your day earlier than you planned, but there is also beauty in all the coves, canals, moss beds as well as watching the ducks and birds just fly over this isolated piece of Louisiana. On this trip we did see 4 Alligators and a variety of ducks and birds.
As with most folks I do not care so much for snakes. Here is a rule of thumb when galavanting around strange water areas where there might be snakes.
Their behavior can indicate poisonous or non-poisonous. But only poisonous snakes will swim with their entire bodies visible on the water. This is because venomous snakes swim with their lungs inflated, whereas a harmless water snake will swim with its body submerged. So if you see a snake swimming on top, STAY AWAY.
Hope you enjoy the tour of the Atchafalaya River Basin. If you make the tour yourself, remember much of the green you see is not on solid walkin land for us Humans.
Click HERE for things you never knew about the Louisiana Swamps
Click HERE for the Wikipedia Site on Louisiana
Click HERE for the website describing the Atchafalaya Basin
Click HERE for the information on how to identify a poisonous snake
Click HERE for a video of driving across the Famous Swamp Bridge
Click HERE for the top Eight Facts about the Swamp Bridge
Click HERE for the Bass Fishing Video of the Atchafalaya Basin
Click HERE for a humorous Video of the Atchafalaya Basin
Have a great week and thanks for riding along on the Ohio Tidbit Trip. This ends the entry on Ohio Tidbits.