Paddling Lake Martin

Earlier this winter, I was shoppin’ for a kayak.
I tried out some of the chain stores that sell them, but was pretty unimpressed with the selection and quality and the fact that I knew practically nothing about kayaks.  A coworker told me about Pack and Paddle in Lafayette.  They were great.  They brought several of the kayaks I was interested in for me to paddle around in for a while one foggy morning at Lake Martin in St Martin Parish.

Lake Martin (or Lake La Pointe as it is referred to in topographic maps) is a nature conservation area located about five miles east of Lafayette.  The land slopes down suddenly as you leave Lafayette along Hwy 353 and enter the old Bayou Teche basin.  The landscape changes from prairie to beautiful stands of cypress and tupelo gum swamps.

The Lake is only about 500 acres, but is surrounded by swamps and forests. The cypress trees were draped in Spanish moss and reflected off the nearly perfectly still water.

Lake Martin is a wonderful bird sanctuary.  Birding trails are available around parts of the lake and the lake is a popular rookery for many wetland birds.  I saw herons, egret and ducks lifting off here and there but only the cormorants stood still enough in the low light to be photoed. 

Cormorants holding their usual pose.  These birds are fish hunters and will spread their wings out on while sitting on a perch after a hunt to dry their wings.  It’s one of the first birds I learned when I started birding a few years ago because I saw their unusual stance and thought “Huh.  What are them birds doin?”.

A sign points to “The Wharf” which I think refers to a small convenience store and boat launch on the east shore where people were fishing.
This ghost boat enticingly sat dead in the water, seeming to call to paddlers to come explore its spooky mysteries. 

You can reach Lake Martin by taking the Breaux Bridge exit from I-10 south onto Hwy-31 for about 5 miles and taking Lake Martin Rd west to Lake Martin.