Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Paddling on the Pearl

On my weekend off we ended up not going camping out at Roosevelt State Park. I really wanted to go, but it was in the 80s - crappy camping weather. I still want to check it out at some point.

Sunday, October 24, we headed to the Pearl River for some paddling. It was a beautiful day, about 11 AM when we finally got on the water. The temperature was already close to 80F, but with the breezes off the water, it felt good. The weather reports said a storm was rolling in that afternoon, so we decided that we'd stay on the water no more than two hours. Putting kayaks up on top of Chip's FJ Cruiser in the rain wasn't something we wanted to try.

We put in at LeFleur's Bluff State park and paddled about 1.5 miles up river. After about 1 mile, we were under the Lakeland Drive bridge. The sky was gorgeous that day. Clouds were rolling in. You can see how dry everything is in these photos. The river was really low and the banks were crisp from lack of rain.

We paddled another half a mile and saw this huge alligator. From head to tail, I would say he was about 8 feel long. My camera is way zoomed in. We weren't really this close to him.

After we saw this gator we were a little freaked out and decided to head back. We knew going in that we would probably see some gators on the river - it is the Pearl after all - but that really didn't prepare me for seeing a live 8-foot gator 30 yards from my little boat. He didn't seem to move an inch as we turned around and headed back to LeFleur's Bluff.

On the way back, we were paddling down river but the wind was at our faces, and it was really picking up. While paddling up river, we were both pretty relaxed, taking in the landscape. While we were returning, our two pairs of eyes were glued to the bank, scanning for more gators. And we did see one more. This guy was tiny compared to the other gator. Maybe 3 or 4 feet long.

In that last photo, my camera is fully zoomed out, so you can see how far away these alligators truly are. Isn't the tail on this one impressive?

We were excited to get out on the water in the middle of the city of Jackson! I'm really not sure if we would do this paddle again, though. The water was fairly gross (trash on the banks), the landscape is a bit monotonous, and the alligators were just too much. I'm not sure what we are going to try next!


Leah Maria said...

Oh my! I would have freaked out if I had seen the alligators; no matter how far away they were. Just the thought that they could probably swim faster than I could paddle would do it for me!

Sounds/looks like y'all had a great time though!

The Clem Family said...

I only like to see alligators when there is a glass pane in between us! You guys might be smart to stay away from that particular path!

Casey said...

oooooh Lisa! I've heard of kayakers seeing gators but that is scary!! whoa! I know of a customer who kayaked in the everglades once. he said it was the only time he was afraid of the gators because one approached his boat in an effort to protect her young. eeeek! cool though :)

Ginger said...

Ahh, a warm November day for kayaking - gotta love THAT about Mississippi :)

Lisa Blair said...

Cool story, Casey! If I went kayaking in any type of swamp (like the everglades), I would definitely want some experienced people with me (and possibly someone with a firearm).

Anonymous said...

Wow. Yall got the up close and personal encounter! It's a funny and surreal to imagine gators hanging out in the rivers so close by.