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Well, hi there!

This blog is to show to the world the hidden gems of life down south. There'll be a bit of gardening, a bit of cooking, a bit of nature, restaurants, shops, and scenes. I'll be doing some homemaking, some renovating, and some adventuring! And drinking. There will definitely be some drinking. If you like passing a good time, let us show you how we do it!

Paddling Baie Sec

Paddling Baie Sec

A few weeks back, Alan and I were fortunate enough to be invited to join the folks from Avoyelles Outdoor Experience Club on a gorgeous Daylight Savings Day paddle (and dinner) on Baie Sec.

Baie Sec, literally meaning Dry Bay, is a secluded waterway that is part of the Spring Bayou system. Spring Bayou in Avoyelles parish is a spectacular natural old-growth Bald Cypress lake that boasts phenomenal opportunities to observe wildlife and enjoy nature. The Spring Bayou WMA also curates a system of Kayak Trails worth scouting out. Although it hadn't rained in weeks, the water level was still quite high, only impeding us with some submerged trees after paddling in 2 miles. Although unconfirmed, given the height and diameter of some of the trees, it is easy to estimate the larger of them being at minimum 300 years old with some potentially having lived six centuries. 

An old cypress tree acts as a posting board in the swamp. 

An old cypress tree acts as a posting board in the swamp. 

As a Wildlife Management Area, visitors may utilize all aspects of the waterway including hunting and fishing with appropriate licensing. Although fall temperatures were beginning to arrive on our trip, we were able to spot an array of herons, egrets, and ibises as well as turtles and a few alligators. 

A flock of Ibis. 

A flock of Ibis. 

The home-base for our fearless leaders, Trent and Richard, and the launch point for our adventure was the private lot and dock of Robert and Aloysia Ducote. Many locals make their "camps" along the banks of the Spring Bayou system, all with varying degrees of improvements.

An old, possibly abandoned campsite.

An old, possibly abandoned campsite.

This campsite had an incredibly scenic dock that Trent and Richard decked out for a sunset gumbo. Although there was no electricity or plumbing, I would dare say "roughing it" doesn't quite make the grade.

Trent & Richard's "improvized" outdoor plumbing. Whoever said outhouses weren't romantic?

Trent & Richard's "improvized" outdoor plumbing. Whoever said outhouses weren't romantic?

Trent is the owner of a local fine dining restaurant called Brown Bag Gourmet, so having an opportunity to have some of his homemade gumbo is always a treat. He left it to simmer in his "cajun microwave," a sunken oven surrounded by coals. 

The tablescape for dinner. 

The tablescape for dinner. 

Gumbo was to die for, wine was welcome, and the company was better than the two of them. As festivities began to wind down and the sun began to set, the water assumed a still, mirror-like state. Fish proceeded to jump, and a glorious flock of Ibis flew above in search of nesting grounds for the evening. All things considered, it is impossible to imagine a more picturesque outing on the bayou. Be sure to check out Avoyelles Outdoor Experience Club for your next outdoor fix. If you are looking for a unique, magical, and flavor-filled experience, you do NOT want to miss this.

Jay D's Parsnip Puree

Jay D's Parsnip Puree

A Fresh, Clean Start

A Fresh, Clean Start