Posts Tagged With: Atchafalaya Swamp

Baker, Louisiana – Day 1

Yesterday we drove the motorhome the about 75 miles from Duson to Baker, about 5 miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The journey, mostly on Interstate Highway 10,  was a difficult one with strong gusty winds from the south hitting the motorhome broadside on the passenger side. Along the way we crossed the Atchafalaya Swamp…the largest river swamp in the United States. The bridge across the swamp is 18.2 miles long. You can read about the Atchafalaya Swamp by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atchafalaya_Basin

The X in the below Google Earth image marks the tourist information center in the middle of the swamp where we stopped to empty our waste tanks and fill our fresh water tank. The V locates where we are currently parked at VFW Post #4224. The reason we are parked here is because Mary flies from Baton Rouge Airport to return to her home in California tomorrow morning.

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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Here are some photos that I took at the tourist information center…

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You can see some beautiful photos the Atchafalaya Swamp by clicking this link…
http://www.kuriositas.com/2010/09/atchafalaya-biggest-swamp-in-states.html

You can read about the swamp people by clicking this link…
http://www.history.com/shows/swamp-people/articles/the-atchafalaya-swamp

Here’s where we are parked at VFW Post #4224. They have graciously provided an electrical hookup. As I write this morning it is raining heavily. It’s supposed to clear later today with a very pleasant weather forecast for the next week…129

And the usual dinette photo…

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I hope to get Mary back by mid-April…right after tax time is done. My current plans are to stay here for a few days and then start SLOWLY drifting north along the Mississippi River to Memphis, Tennessee where I’ll then turn northeast heading for New England. Can’t go north too fast because it’s still cold up there!

Enjoying the Atchafalaya Swamp is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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RV Trip Favorite Photos #78-83

Jim Says:

While Mary and I are taking care of business here at her home…there is little “new stuff” to Blog about daily. So I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite photos from our recent 298 day, 16,000+ mile RV trip around the United States.

Since scenery and people snapshot-type photos require little special photography skills…and being limited by the abilities of my digital camera…I none the less took some photos that I really liked. They are presented in no special order of favoritism.

Today’s photos were taken March 22, 2010 during The Last Wilderness Swamp Tour of the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana…

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In other news…
88 degrees yesterday. Completed re-sealing the motorhome running lights.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

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RV Trip Fvaorite Photos #71-77

Jim says:

While Mary and I are taking care of business here at her home…there is little “new stuff” to Blog about daily. So I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite photos from our recent 298 day, 16,000+ mile RV trip around the United States.

Since scenery and people snapshot-type photos require little special photography skills…and being limited by the abilities of my digital camera…I none the less took some photos that I really liked. They are presented in no special order of favoritism.

Today’s photos were taken March 17, 2010 during a visit with Author Greg Giraud at his home on the shore of the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana…

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In other news…
91 degrees yesterday. Continued re-sealing motohome running lights.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

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ATCHAFALAYA SWAMP-NATIONAL TREASURE

From Mary’s desk:

Some things are national treasures, and the protected Atchafalaya Basin, a cypress swamp, bayou and part of the Mississippi and Red River water sheds, is one of those treasures. Thankful that the bald and tupelo cypress, (totally cut, not ONE was saved,) will some day rise again as the prehistoric giants of…whoa! Wait a minute. Jim and I took a ride with the only Basinkeeper on the Atchafalaya, Dean Wilson. He used to be a professional crawfisherman and he actually lives there and sees the swamp everyday. Our national treasure is in trouble. The Corp of Engineers has two people watching the area, and the State of Louisiana hired one person to oversee the swamp. “I never see them unless I call and complain about infractions,” he told us.

In recent years, logging companies moved in and began cutting young cypress, grinding it up and selling it for mulch to two major chains, WalMart and Home Depot.  They were reported to the state, and issued cease and desist orders, and they would. Temporarily. The laws had no teeth in them. No power to fine them and make non-compliance hurt.
“Filing suit would net a small “settlement”, and they’d start up operations again.”
The Basinkeepers Organization attacked WalMart and Home Depot. WalMart took cypress mulch off their shelves locally. Home Depot ignored them. Big Corporations care for profits above National Treasures, so, wherever you shop, don’t buy Cypress Mulch. (The companies also clear cut cypress on private lands even though it is a protected species.)

We asked Dean, “How do you find your way around this swamp without “road” signs?

Big oil and the logging companies left a damaging legacy of “roads” into the swamps. Deep channels that allowed invasive species in,  that drowned native species, affected the nesting and migratory birds feeding grounds. The state subsidized levees giving the companies access which allowed hard woods in that can’t withstand hurricanes.  The Corp changed the course of the river and silt-building to provide more dry land for farming and houses. Oil companies were supposed to return the land to the condition in which they found it. The state didn’t enforce those contracts and the oil companies simply ignored them.  Yes, but this was all years ago before we were wise to the folly of…Wait! “Dean, why is the alligator grass on this side of the channel big and clumpy and on the other side its dry and barely living?

“The oil pipe lines are located under the dead grass. The oil companies don’t want stuff to grow over their lines  and they come though with planes and spray herbicides from above.”
We actually didn’t go on this boat ride to castigate corporate practices and weak state laws.  We were shocked at what we learned by asking  questions. That current enlightenment is so crassly ignored, and that  such damaging practices are allowed to continue, took us by surprise.

I get on a rant  but I want to say Dean’s tour was educational but a lot of fun. His dog, Chucka could smell a nutria, detect a squirrel in a tree, or a bird before Dean could ever spot it. Spring is unseasonably cold and late but the cypress are greening quite heavily now and the smell of flowers was in the air.  The real treat was getting to see how the crawfishermen work their traps.

The traps are tied to a tree, baited with fish or meal, and checked periodically for crawfish. There was little to be had. Above, the bait is alone in the trap. The fishermen nail brightly colored ribbons to the trees with their traps to identify them  from each other.

The boat is flat bottomed. Dean had to push several floaters, like the one above, out of the way. Once the boat got hung up on a floater. Dean joked, “My customers have to paddle.!” The boat can glide over some obstructions, but not all.

This is an old growth cypress, estimated to be 1500 to 2000 years old. They cut them all except hollow cypress that have no wood value, such as this one. This is the only swamp with several of these hollow trees that give some idea of what the swamp looked like at one time. Cypress seeds stay in the mud and wait for a cyclical dry period to take root, grow, and make it to just above the incoming water level to survive. In other words, the condition has to be just right and that is the only reason young trees have reestablished the swamp and are growing. Hopefully, they can be protected forever.

Dean told us new laws on the books this year allow for heavy fines that should discourage illegal logging  in the Atchafalaya.

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