Louisiana’s Outback

Earlier this summer, we decided to explore the Creole Nature Trail. This wilderness route runs from just east of Lake Charles to Sulphur. The route has three spurs, two along the coast and one running to Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.  The route does not have an abundance of gas stations and restaurants, so plan accordingly.

Our first stop was the Lacassine spur.  We saw a few small alligators and birds.

gravel road in Lacassinewater and lily pads in Lacassine

aquatic plant in Lacassine

Our next stop was Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. We took the Pintail Wildlife Drive. We saw several birds and an alligator. With a driving loop, the area is accessible for any visitor.

red-winged blackbird in high grass

Red-winged blackbird perched on a cattail

small orange dragonfly

Dragonfly on a reed

Glossy ibis in the sky

Glossy ibis

We drove along the coast stopping at a number of beaches, named and unnamed. We paid the admission fee to park and enjoy the Cameron Jetty. Even though we were only there for a short time, it was worth it.

pelicans in the water

Pelicans in the surf

brown pelican in the sky

Pelican

glass bottle found on beach near cameron jetty pier

If there was a message in this bottle, it disintegrated years ago.

Egrets in the gulf of Mexico

shrimp boat

Shrimp boat

After crossing the Cameron Ferry, we visited the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge before heading to our hotel in Hackberry.

bird on a pipe

 

DSC_0092DSC_0101bunny flees at Sabine Wildlife Refuge

The following morning we doubled-back to Holly Beach before heading home. I found a shark’s tooth and a number of intact shells. I would later learn that some of those were still inhabited by aquatic hermit crabs that met a sad fate.

The wildlife refuges were my favorite part of the drive. Blistering heat kept the crowds at bay making it feel like we were the only ones in the park, and sometimes we were. Some of the refuges offered photo-blinds. I would like to give them a try when fall and winter arrive.

As for the beaches, the unnamed beach stops are plentiful and offer a cleaner, more rustic experience than the named beaches. The amount of trash on some of the named beaches was disheartening. In my opinion, litterbugs are selfish, not careless.

If you want to explore the Creole Nature Trail, and I do recommend it, take plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. I also recommend having snacks in the car and not letting your fuel level dip too low.

 

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