Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lake Chicot

Next, I headed south along Hwy. 1 and eventually met back up with Hwy. 65 at the town of McGehee. The road went past a park next to a small lake filled with lots of cypress trees. There was even a nice little boardwalk to head out on to get a better view of the trees. I decided to stop, since I don't know the next time I'll be in McGehee. And also, with it being winter, I wouldn't be feasted upon by a swarm of mosquitoes.
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The view of the boardwalk, decorated with the fallen leaves from the cypress trees.
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The next stop was Lake Chicot, located by Lake Village in the very bottom corner of the state. When I was growing up, we used to drive down Hwy. 65 while heading to Florida to visit relatives. Since this was way back before cars were equipped with DVD players, my brother and I had to occupy our time by keeping track of several landmarks along the way. Lake Chicot was one of those landmarks, with old docks running out into the lake and thousands of cypress trees standing tall in the water. Some other important landmarks along the way: the sign by the state prison in Varner that warned against picking up hitchhikers, the tunnel at Mobile, and the town of Transylvania, Louisiana.

But Lake Chicot is huge; it’s actually the largest oxbow lake in North America. About 600 years ago, the lake was once part of the Mississippi River. But changes in current meant that this part of the river was cut off, forming a lake instead. Now the lake is home to countless cypress trees that dot the landscape.

Actually, Lake Chicot got its name from the French word for “stumpy,” which was inspired the cypress trees.

These were all taken at the state park along Lake Chicot. It was a bit late in the day when I got into the park, and I stopped at what seemed like the most promising place. It was along a dock, with a view looking off towards where the sun would soon be setting.

I sat out on the dock and waited for the sunset. It was hard to see the sun for the most part; it was hiding behind the clouds. But since it was so cloudy, I predicted that the sun would just merely set behind the clouds without any nice color to show for it. So instead of waiting 30 minutes for the sun to finish setting, I gave up on it and started to drive on home. As I was heading back up Hwy. 65, I saw (to my surprise and dismay) that there was actually an awesome looking sunset developing of to the West. So I ended up trying to desperately find a place to stop for a shot. Trying to not miss the best light, I turned off of Hwy. 65 south of Dumas and hurried down a dirt road by some fields. Eventually I found an old tree by the side of the road and quickly pulled over to get a shot of it silhouetted against the sunset.

The great light only lasted for about 2 minutes after that. So it was time to finally head back home - after about eight hours of driving where I travelled over 300 miles and used up one tank of gas.

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