Thursday, April 07, 2016

Paddling Fox Lake Sanctuary

We followed the “Kayak Trail” that starts at Fox Lake Park and winds around to a group camping area.  On this day the winds were reasonably strong and I really wasn’t sure how far we would make it before turning back, but we did make it all the way around.

Dock underwater
Dock underwater at group campsite

Kayak landing at hiking trailWe started at the boat ramp and headed straight across the lake; the trees broke the wind that was coming from the north, so the paddle from here was nice and easy.  There is a hiking trail that goes along the lake with a few kayak landings along the way.  Based on my experience hiking this trail last year, and all of the rain that we had recently, we could have likely paddled a good portion of the hiking trail as well.

As we rounded the the north side of the lake, we paddled north through a huge area of lily pads.  The channel through these is clear (fishermen bring their boats this way frequently), and the lilies are just starting to come into bloom.

Fox lake - pano
Huge “field” of lily pads

Long paddle between treesI was keeping an eye out for water fowl and other fauna – there were plenty of birds walking among the lilies, but I only saw one juvenile alligator. 

Beyond the lily pads is a long straight channel that connects Fox Lake to South Lake.  The wind from the north made this portion of the trip a little more challenging, but not too bad.  The view from the water, made the extra work worthwhile.

Dry grasses in the waterAt the end of the canal through, we turned to the west through an area of reeds as swamp grass.  There were several spots where we could see the water plants were only a few inches below the water, but the water is still pretty deep.Landing site

The kayak trail soon turns to the southwest, and then due south to the group campsite.  There is an underwater dock with a ramp that angles down to allow one to bring their craft straight up onto the dock, but I don’t recommend it.  The wood is very slippery, so it is much easier to paddle up to the shore next to the dock.

Tree in camping areaWe stopped at the campsite for lunch before heading back along the same route we came.  The trip back was definitely more challenging, as the wind had picked up quite a bit.  From the time that we left the camp until we started to turn to the east (a little over a mile), we had to paddle consistently to make forward progress.  Anytime we stopped to drift a little bit, the wind took over and started pushing us backwards.  Of course, this made the trip south in the canal through the trees and then the field of lily pads much easier.

This is a nice spot for a kayak or a canoe, but I do recommend checking the expected wind conditions, or at least be prepared for a little extra effort than a more sheltered paddle.  If you would like to see the technical details of this trip, or where the photos were taken, click on the trip details link at the bottom of the map.

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More photos are available in the Photo Gallery

View of launch area Water Lily up close Water lilies
Starting to turn north Kayak Trail marker Heading south

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