I left Austin with my aforementioned former roommate, Whitney, the morning after arriving, with an adventure in the cards. We’d been wanting to do some sort of camping trip (despite my general lack of outdoorsiness and camping know-how), and I gave her the green light to pick somewhere that sounded cool.
She nailed it, booking the “limited use” cabin in Caddo Lake State Park–shelter that was just rustic enough, with wooden bunk beds and a heating unit (but not TOO rustic…there were unattached bathrooms and showers).
Like any good road trip does, our trip to the lake began with a stop at the grocery store–in this case, local staple HEB, where I was pleased to find Cheez-It-like crackers shaped like the state of Texas. From there on, I proceeded to secretly purchase food, beverages and other random things to horde in the event that we never saw civilization again, including a $10 Mexican blanket from the gas station.
When we finally got close, the neurosis ramped up, and the three stops we made in search of firewood had me convinced that we were all going to get murdered overnight. Pulling into the park in the dark and driving through the creepy-as-all-hell woods didn’t really make things any better.
So when the group wanted to do some post-dinner exploring, I was terrified. But I was more terrified to stay alone in the cabin, so I went along.
The lake was well-lit by a nearly full moon, and we could make out the ghostly shapes of the Bald Cypress trees rooted in the water. Caddo Lake is right near the Louisiana border (more on that later), and the area had a swampy, bayou-like quality unlike any I’d ever seen.
Thankfully, the murderers stayed away, allowing for a morning view of the cypresses. They were even cooler in the daylight:
We spent a lot of time with them that day, renting a canoe from the park office and embarking on a full-day canoe trip. Though we spent hours on the water, we saw just a finger-like fraction of the lake, so the rest will have to wait for next time.