Cedar Creek Lake - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
Day Trip Report
Crab Orchard, KY, USA
Monday, August 22, 2005. Got up at 6 am and fixed breakfast, got the kids and wife up and fed them and sent them off to work / school. I then loaded my kayak and gear up and headed for Cedar Creek Lake in Lincoln County.
Cedar Creek Lake is a really new lake, only being impounded 3 years ago. It shocked everyone in the fact in filled up in about 5 months with good feeder creeks and fair amount of rain fall. Cedar Creek Lake is different than most lakes in the fact it was put in by the Fish & Wildlife folks as opposed to the Corps of Engineer. Usually when the Corps puts a lake in, it is primarily for a reservoir, flood control, or power. Then if recreation happens, all the more merrier. But when the Fish and Wildlife folks put a lake in, that is exactly what it is for FISH AND WILDLIFE. Iím just lucky to claim a small stake to the latter of the two. The lake is beautiful to me by the fact that they did not clear any forest when they impounded it. Which means 40% of the lake belongs only to the paddle boats as not even trolling motors can get into the thick of some of the vegetation. And 90% of that 40% is along the shore lines.
My cousin Tim and I went in the first year and all the forestation was still alive and hadnít succumbed to a drowning yet, and was still very green. It was great, as you could literally paddle into the woods to get out of the sunshine. Plus Tim likes to play a game called see if you can control your craft enough to weave and bob and follow me through these thickets. Which is great fun till you run into a Cedar or onto a log or into one of those Christ Crown trees (the ones that seemed to be made up of two inch long thorns). I have to give Tim thanks again for introducing me to Kayaking and for teaching me the skills of maneuvering in tight areas. On one of our two outings into the lake, it started to rain pretty heavy. I knew it would from the weather reports and brought along ponchos. We paddled into the woods, put on the ponchos and watched the rain. It rained so hard, that it looked like diamonds dancing all over the lake. It was actually one of those things that burns into memory and your glad you were there to witness it, then anywhere else. Out of those two trips, we did about two thirds of the shoreline. I know this, as I finished the lake this Monday. We discovered hidden feeder creeks that were filled with Geodes. Not the type where you say, thereís one, hey, hereís another one, and there is one over there. No this field is larger than any Iíve seen anywhere. Every other rock was a geode. I thought of hauling a lot out for commercial value, but it just isnít there (the value that is). My youngest son and his friend has went back there with me twice to haul out a load, and my wife has joined me once to see this hidden geode field. We now have more geodes around our pond and drive than you could imagine. Imagine that.
The second year I went back (still geode hauling) most of the trees were dead but still standing. This year, all the trees were dead and a few had started to break. One of the neat things about paddling in a forest is you can see old trails and roads by the way the trees are lined. Which is great for having a opening to paddle through. Some of the woods come several hundred feet off the shore line and go as far a quarter mile long.
Something else I noticed this year was a lot larger number and diversity of fowl. I saw at least 7 different varieties of ducks, and had a wild turkey spook and fly over my head. I saw several pair of Blue Heron, and I saw something that Iíve never seen in Kentucky before, a White Egret. That or a short albino Heron, but I believe it was an Egret. I also saw two different types of hawks that I didnít recognize. One was so large and beautifully lightly colored that I thought at first it was an Osprey. I think we are too far off the salt water for that, but after seeing the White Egret, I wondered. I also saw a tree full of fowl that looked like a mix between a duck and an egret. I didnít recognize them either, but there must have been two dozen of them in that tree. If this is just the third year of the lake, can you imagine what the wildlife will be like on it in 10 years. This is truly a fine piece of work if this type of slow outdoor exposure is what you like. I hear the fishing is good too, but Iíve got to the point where Iím too lazy to clean them and donít like hurting them on a catch and release. So I just look. Sometimes I shoot a picture.
I always like to bring some kind of souvenir back with me from these adventures. I had picked up a few nice feathers floating in the water and was pretty happy with that. Then I saw a Monarch Butterfly floating upside down in the water. I thought, what the heck, that would make a nice display too. So I scooped him up and put him on the front of the kayak. It immediately appeared that he was not dead and flipped himself over and rode the front of my kayak for about 45 minutes. It was so neat, as he would open his wings one way or another to dry them off. Sort of looked like that girl on the front of Titanic in the movie. Then I guess he felt he was dry enough and walked to the very bow of the boat and gingerly flew away. I watched to make sure he didnít do another water landing, but he did fine and flew into the flooded woods. Somehow I felt that was a good omen and I had just been touched by an angel. After that, I had paddled the whole of the lake, counting the two trips with cousin Tim, so I headed in. Wonderful place for a kayak and flat water paddling. So many hidden delights and surprises just on the other side of the flooded woods. I would be more than happy to paddle back into this lake again and plan to at least once a year to see how it ages and what more wildlife has gathered on its banks.
Gravel ramp, no facilities of any kind.
No fees or permits required.
Off of I75 at the Mt. Vernon exit, 461 south a short distance, West on 150, lake is right after coming out the other side of Crab Orchard.
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