Texas has some of the most beautiful lakes
in Texas, largely because they are surrounded by lavish forests.
If anyone ever asks me to pick the lake I like most, Caddo
Lake, located near Jefferson,
would be high on my list, largely because its mystical nature is captivating.
Caddo is among the few
naturally formed lakes in Texas. It
was created in the 1800s when the backwaters of the Red River broke
though a logjam, eventually sprawling over more than 26,000 acres
along the Texas-Louisiana border with water.
What makes Caddo so different is its large cypress trees. Their roots,
called knees, poke out of the water like gnomes.
Caddo so different is its large cypress trees."
Photo courtesy Maryanne
Gobble, November 2010
lake is also rich in wildlife. The lake’s alligators are shy, but
if you look closely you’ll find them swimming lazily between the cypress
trees, sometimes with birds riding on their backs.
You’ll also find opossums, all kind of snakes and scorpions, egrets,
blue herons, beavers, deer, raccoons, bobcats and coyotes. And in
the trees, barred owls seem to call out with a low-pitched sound that
sounds like, “Who cooks for you?"
The cypress trees are home to a Spanish moss, which isn’t a moss at
all, but related to the pineapple, a guide told us.
the night on the lake is an experience of its own. The best place
is one of nine stone and log rental cabins built in 1934 by the Civilian
Caddo Lake is actually a state park with 2.5 miles of hiking trails
that wind around a handful of small communities, including Uncertain,
which was once a steamboat landing named by a captain who often told
his nervous passengers, “Landing here is always uncertain.”
tourists through the swamp with “Go-Devil” boats, a low-profile metal
craft with an outboard motor that can navigate the shallow waters
One Go-Devil guide often tells his passengers, ”A lot of people get
lost here and have to spend the night without wanting too,” while
patting the metal storage bin on his boat, which is always packed
with tins of sardines and Vienna sausages.
If you want more comfort for your boat ride, larger boats, some shaped
like old steamboats, often carry groups of sightseers across the lake,
weaving among the old cypress trees.
Adding to the mystery of the lake are several sightings of Bigfoot,
the large man-like creature which has been seen by visitors on several
Bob Bowman's East Texas
May 22, 2011 Column.
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers