Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beaver Dam Campground, Minden; Colfax Recreation Area, Colfax and Farr Equestrian Park and RV Campground Baton Rouge, LA Nov 11-17

When we left Arkadelphia we also ended our sojourn in AR and headed to Louisiana.  Having left the Ozarks the land was flatter though still gently rolling hills.  My plans to take the scenic route, Rte 7, were kiboshed when the projection for rain combined with the advice of our neighbors to avoid the "bottom lands" made us change to the less scenic but faster highways.  We headed down I-30 and then arced almost to the border with Texas at Texarkana to get on I-49.  From there it was smooth sailing (or so we thought) on a very new road to Shreveport where we headed east to Minden and the first of our LA campgrounds.


Located on Caney Lake, in part of the Kisatchie National Forest, the Beaver Dam Campground is actually administered by the USDA.  Our views of the lake were through the trees and not as expansive as they had been at Alpine Ridge but the morning colors shown brilliantly through them and the fog that rose each morning off the water gave it an ethereal feeling.  The walking and biking trails were far superior to those at Alpine Ridge and Minden was a short 15 minute drive away,  as opposed to the 40 minute trek to Arkadelphia.  

Our first morning, as I prepared for my trip to town Don noticed we had a flat tire.  I remembered one area along the drive where the road was quite torn up and had had a fleeting thought that it looked like a place to get a flat tire. Oh well. We changed it and found the nail that had been lying in wait for us. A quick call to Costco, which we saw was in New Orleans, and we verified they would fix it under warranty.  Phew.  Our first "no cost" blip! So I hied off to Minden where I got quite a tour of the town since I thought I was reading the map correctly and had it upside down.  I ended up going 5 miles in the opposite direction of the store but it was a nice chance to drive their cobblestone streets and then through small neighborhoods. While I was gone Don found several fellow "pedallers" and they discussed the merits of the various routes while I shopped for pet supplies and laundered The campground was lovely and quiet and just enough of a chill in the air to need blankets at night and jackets in the day.  We only had 3 nights in Minden though before we drove to Colfax.

Our first morning greeted us with mist rising from the lake and brilliant sunshine through the trees

As we were changing the car tire this butterfly alighted on the rear window

On our last morning I rode over to the boat ramp to watch the sun rise the clouds were dappled in the east but..

...the sky cleared to the south

Our site and the road leading up to it

The campground host at Beaver Dam, a good old boy who's been there for 6 years and had a veritable treasury of stories, had asked, What the heck is in Colfax, when I said where we were going next.

COLFAX RV PARK Red River Recreation Area  COLFAX LA
Well, what is in Colfax is a lovely campground on the Red River at Lock and Dam #3.  Although we'd read that we could go into the control room, when we walked up there the gate was locked and with only 2 nights there we never had another chance.  The campground is quite new so the trees are still growing but show signs that they will make the campground even lovelier in a few years.  There are a number of magnolia and pecan trees which will provide beauty and shade.  Don took a long paddle on the river while I walked around taking pictures with Phoenix and then captured an amazing sunset.  The river seemed to have a resident great egret and a blue heron so each time I went out I looked for them and tried capturing photos of them.  The blue heron and I played tag much of the time and each time I got close enough he'd take off into the air.

LA Rte 71 south heading toward Colfax

crossing over the Bayou Rigolette just before Colfax

Our site at Colfax RV Park

This Grey Heron and I played tag. First he was on the shore and as I got close enough to get a good picture...

 he flew away to the other side of the river

Of course I followed him.  He'd had time to catch a fish and was finishing it as I got there when he called out and flew away.

This snowy Egret was a lot more cooperative and stayed right there until I stepped on a loud crunchy pile of leaves

she flew off and over the bridge

where I saw a cormorant standing on the piling and...

...a comedian killdeer.  Each time I lifted my camera he'd lift one leg. When I lowered it, the leg went down.  I was laughing so hard it was difficult to get a picture that wasn't blurry.

I went down to the river to capture the light of the late afternoon and hopefully a sunset.  There were some clouds in the sky so they threw nice light on the water

And as the sun got lower in the sky it looked like I would not be disappointed

The sun was a blazing ball as it sank into the horizon and a flock of geese flew off toward it

Not more than a few hours later the crescent moon was in the sky

The next morning dawned with pink and lavender clouds streaking the sky and as I turned...

...I saw the tree next to our MoHo against the red sky and wondered what the day would be like.

As it turned out, it was nice and though the wind was up a bit, Don was able to get in a good paddle

I walked around finding mushrooms,

a gorgeous orange butterfly who graciously opened his wings and stayed put until I took his picture

and then, in a tree near our MoHo I spied what I think was an Oriole's nest

 The first night there the campground was almost full which we thought interesting since mid November doesn't seem to be a common camping time.  Then we found out there was a traveling group of square dancers who gather in different areas and they were having a dance to which we were invited but did not go.  Such wimps we are...we were long abed by the time they had gotten going.  The next day they all cleared out and we were left virtually alone and enjoying the chance to bask in the sun and enjoy the beauty of just being out in the fresh air.  

Our next stop was Baton Rouge for an overnight. On our way there we drove for miles across the incredible Atchafalaya River Basin and I regretted not doing more research before planning a "zip tour" through the area. (We would drive across more of it as we headed down to New Orleans the next day and it's clearly a region we want to revisit.) The day was much warmer than what we'd been experiencing and more humid so we had the windows open.  The roadway is elevated through the area and quite lovely.  It was just so cool looking out at water and seeing trees, not stumps, growing all over.

The Achafalaya Basin Welcome Center in Breaux Bridge


Why Baton Rouge if only for an overnight? Baton Rouge has a Trader Joe's which I wanted to visit and it was time to get my hair cut.  Don passed up the opportunity for one since he, I think, is growing flowing locks to go with his planned beard next year (every 7 years).   It was rainy and cold when we arrived and really, why we rushed through LA I don't know because we stayed at the wonderful Farr Park Equestrian Center and RV Campground right next to the river and 5 minutes from the LSU campus and town.  The levee that runs alongside the river has a lighted and extensive bike/walking trail that stretches for miles. We ended up walking on only a short bit of it the morning we left because, of course, the high chance of rain led us to put the bikes on the car rather than riding so the sky cleared and we walked in dappled sunshine and warm breezes. The bike trail that ends at the park even has a free air pump for bikes.

Our site at Farr Campground

The levee walking/biking trail next to the campground

Bird on a fence
There is even a FREE air pump for bikes on the trail in the park

I had read that the campground was near a "questionable" part of town.  Few things get my dander up as much as then driving through that section and seeing simply that the people who live there are only poor.  The people I saw were mothers strolling with their children and school children walking home. The buildings were clean and well kept although I had to laugh when I saw the Must be 21 Club/Store?

Our way too brief visit to Baton Rouge over we headed south to NOLA, New Orleans, Nawlins...


  1. As always, your photos, Lisa, are riveting and gorgeous. :)

  2. Thanks Maia. Hope you have a Happy 2016 and someday maybe you will bog about cooking!


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