Sunday, August 24, 2008
FAYETTE POWER PLANT LAKE
Opted to stay closer to home this weekend and still get some kayaking in so I went to Fayette Lake (which lies in Fayette County Texas) to see what I could find. This particular lake was constructed here for a coal-fired power plant that was built to help supply the city of Austin with power. They built the lake for cooling at the power plant. This is supposedly one of the better lakes around central Texas for bass fishing because of the warmer year-round water temperatures. We tossed a few lures and didn't get a bite today although I'm sure it is probably great for fishing at the right time and in the right spots. It's also not bad for hanging around and nature sightseeing, (as long as you don't mind looking at a coal-fired power plant on one side of the lake).
I shouldn't rag on the energy companies, I know. At least they let us come enjoy the lake they built so I guess it's not all bad. I was here on a weekend and the lake was fairly busy with boaters and families swimming and enjoying the water. Even with the fair amount of human activity I managed to slip away along the banks and find some peace and quiet among the reeds.
The herons were out today, wading and sunning. I saw a very large Great Blue Heron as he dodged into the woods along the shoreline narrowly escaping the wrath of my camera. I had better luck with the next bird. A brave little Green Heron stood his ground on a tree limb as I floated past. He kept a close eye on me while defending his territory from that strange looking yellow vessel in the water. He waited patiently as I took my pictures and finally moved on. A Great Egret also allowed me to get in a shot.
Did I mention how much I love kayaks for nature watching? They are quiet and peaceful and they meld into the environment without causing a ruckus. Not at all like a stinky, smelly motorboat or jet ski, which are really annoying when you think about it, and can be quite a menace to everything on or near the water. (And half the time they don't work right.) It's always amusing to me to see a packed boat ramp, everyone jockeying for position to get that boat in or out, struggling with their trailer gear, hoping those motors start up and run this time - cause you know at least one of these times they are guaranteed not to! And here I come, gently and quietly sliding my kayak out at the nearest bank, loading up just like that - and I'm gone! No fuss, no mess, no yearly license and registration fees to pay, no maintenance to keep her running. Notice my obvious satisfaction as I stand with my kayak loaded and ready to leave and a full boat ramp behind me in the distance. .... It's good to be a kayaker....
They have done a fairly good job of making this a nature-friendly lake. In addition to the water activities, they have a 3 mile bike/hike trail through the woods and along the lake which joins two campground areas. They also have a shorter hike/birding trail that runs about 2 miles in total length, meandering in and around the woods next to the lake which is really quite nice. As it got closer to sundown we hiked into the birding trail to check it out for ourselves. It was mostly crushed gravel and dirt with several exposed tree roots in places. There were interesting bridges to cross and even a staircase to climb leading up to a pond which happened to be dry on this visit. All in all, it made for a nice day trip and conveniently located within 30 minutes or so of home. I'm not complaining............until next time! Happy adventures!