Tammany Trace

The Tammany Trace is a paved running/biking/skating trail that runs 31 miles through St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. The Trace was created by the parish in 1992 from an abandoned corridor of the Illinois Central Railroad, as part of the nation-wide Rails-to-Trails program. The Trace has been tremendously beneficial to …

Kayaking down Cane Bayou

The pictures below were taken on a balmy Sunday in mid-November during a kayak excursion on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Cane Bayou is one of several streams that empty into Lake Pontchartrain from the north, it runs between Fontainebleau State Park and the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. There is a convenient launch …

Water Lily Pollination

Many Fragrant Water Lilies (Nymphaea odorata) bloom in our lake in July and August. The flowers are showy yet I had not noticed insects attracted to them, which caused me to wonder about its strategy for pollination. Investigation revealed that these plants have a very interesting reproduction process. Each flower of the Fragrant Water Lily …

Clear Water

We are fortunate to live beside a lake with very clear water. Effectively capturing its clarity in a photo is difficult. Real estate ads for properties on lakes in the area with clear water commonly include photos like this, taken looking down on the water from our dock. Plants on the lake bottom, under about …

Lily Pads

Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) The pads of watershield are slightly smaller than other common lily pads, and they are more elliptical. It blooms throughout the summer, but we did not notice any of the smaller pink-purple flowers. Its most interesting and noticeable feature was a thick coating of very slippery mucilage (slime!) coating the underside of …

Evenings on the Lake with Loons

The lake was still and slight cloud cover made for dramatic skies In this image one of the lake’s islands is in the foreground A family of loons has made the lake their home this summer Two adult loons are commonly seen (and heard) in the evenings accompanied by a baby. We didn’t get a …

Kayak Excursion Big Bass Lake

Big Bass Lake is largely undeveloped, and was terrific to explore in kayaks on Sunday. In it areas of open water are connected by shallower channels. The shallow channels and the water edges are crowded with lily pads and other vegetation. Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar variegata) In Big Bass Lake these Yellow Pond Lilies (a.k.a …