"Away" is a place not found on a map, but you'll know you're there when you get there. And then it happens. One day you wake up and you're in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm, your soul is light, your thoughts are positive and your vision is clear. Your faith is stronger than ever and you're at peace. At peace with where you've been and with what you've been through and at peace with where you are headed. A place called away.
A couple hundred yards up the road from the little camping area we are in, is the Honey Island Swamp Tours office. They run 5 or 6 boats up and down the West Pearl River doing tours. They only charge 25 bucks a person, so we all decided to go check out what a Louisiana swamp has to offer. Even before we got on the tour we were sitting waiting and in the swamp behind the office were a couple logs, and on the logs were turtles, sunning themselves. The funny thing is that if another turtle wanted on, he would try to crawl up and the log would tip a bunch of them off into the water.
So we all got in line for the swamp tour.
The boat holds about 20 people and it is a 7 mile run down the river to where we will seem some swamp things. Pretty scenery along the way.
Our tour guide was Captain Bill and he spent a lot of his childhood along this river so knows just where to look for stuff. He spotted lots of snakes in the trees sunning themselves but I didn't get a picture of any of them. He would stop and turn the boat to go right by them but by the time I figured out where they were, we were moving again. I guess you have to have Cajun eyes!! He had lots of stories, most true but some I'm sure were fish tales.
Along the river are a lot of what they call hunt camps. They are built on top of the swamp and the only way to get to them is by boat. Most of these have been here for a long time and withstood Hurricane Katrina 13 years ago. They are not in great shape because to rebuild them would require constructing to code and the codes have changed a lot since Katrina for waterfront properties. So they just keep propping them up as best they can.
Farther down we exited the river and went back in the Dead River to the swamp. It was a narrow little channel with lots of foliage along the edges. Captain Bill pointed out the White roses that grow wild here. He said they grow everywhere and if you put them in your garden you will be sorry.
All of a sudden we saw some movement in the leaves. Sure enough something was there moving around. Of course everyone was on edge not knowing what sort of huge man eating beast would be lurking there waiting for a tasty tourist treat.
Well look here what we did see!! A cute little racoon and he came right up to the boat looking for his treat. The captains keep marshmallows with them to feed him with and he knows every time a boat comes by he will get one. He is quite tame and lives in the trees of the bayou.
Lots of pretty Cypress trees along the way. It is illegal to cut a Cypress tree in Louisiana any more.
And lots more turtles along the way sunning themselves. I think these were called Green Sliders. Notice how they sit with the neck up and one leg sticking out the back.
Oh Oh!! what was that over there in the water!!!
Yup a little alligator. He looks to be about 4 feet long. Captain Bill starts making a low grunting noise and look there!! He turned around and headed for the boat. Captain got out his trusty stick and put a wiener on the end of it and the little gater came right up and grabbed it. This guy is spoiled rotten apparently and hangs around waiting for treats like the coon did.
Well that was interesting, so we headed a little farther back in towards the land part of the bayou and somebody yelled "bear!!" Nope not a bear. But it was a wild boar!!! These black boars live back in here and of course the tour boats feed them marsh mellows. They can swim quite well so have adapted to living on the edge of the bayou.
Well we had a good afternoon seeing things and listening to stories but all good things must come to an end and so it was for us. We headed back up river to find the spot we started. Very interesting tour if anyone is around New Orleans country. Honey Island Swamp Tours. They run all day long every day.
When we got back we walked down the road for happy hour at our camp and discussed all the fun we had today.
All we did was make ourselves hungry so we decided to go to town for some Cajun food. I am always open to try some things but must admit I am a roast beef and potato kind of guy!! The swamp tour guys recommended Pecks Seafood restaurant in Slidell so thats where we went.
Anyhow we ordered some Gumbo, Alligator bites, Red Beans and Rice, and Crawfish bisque. They also had all you can eat Catfish and lots of shrimp plates. Thats what the rest ate. I can now say I've had it and I'm still happy with roast beef and potatoes. Nothing against the restaurant, the food was what it was supposed to be.
Gumbo, Red Beans &Rice, Crawfish & Corn
Lots of people were ordering bags of boiled crawfish. This is what the couple next door ordered. They sure like to eat lots of them.
So that was our day and this was the view out our window today: