|Mark: "Alligators don't like being poked with a paddle"|
A large number of alligators inhabit the lake and I was a bit hesitant to put in with my kayak...but I met a young feller there who was camping, kayaking and hunting. He lived nearby and was in possession of two kayaks - a rigid one and an inflatable. The inflatable kayak was stowed (deflated) behind the seat of his rigid kayak. Strapped up front was a Winchester rifle.
He paddled about, hunting deer from his watery perch. The inflatable kayak was used if he got a deer. He would inflate it with a portable pump, put the deer on it and tow it back to his campsite.
When I confessed my concerns about alligators, he said three comforting words: "They're pretty chill" followed by a disclaimer, spoken in the very finest of East Texas redneckery: "Just don't F with them - they don't like being poked with a paddle."
I didn't ask how he knew they didn't like being paddle-poked; it sounded like he was speaking from first-hand experience. And I was very much determined not to F with them.
Armed with this knowledge - and a drone overview indicating about 1/3 mile of swamp before getting to the lake proper - I set out. I saw exactly zero alligators but the pucker factor was high and I will never paddle in such an area again.
A little photography and ham radio was my reward. The cypress trees amazed me; we even had what passes for autumn color around here. Not much of it, but we appreciate it nonetheless.
Conditions on 20m were amazing. You'd think I had a big 'ol Yagi connected to the rig with all the strong European stations calling me, but no - just a HamStick.
Four log pages were filled and many more stations were calling but I had to QRT for the long drive home.