Caddo Lake State Park & Becoming a True Hiker

As you may know from my Jefferson Blog, there were still a few items left on my checklist. Before the end of that trip, my mother and I had made plans to head back the next year to finish up our exploration of this small East Texas town. We realized we only needed one night, but after I realized Caddo Lake State Park was less than a half hour away, I booked us an Airbnb so I could hike in the early morning.

Thus, plans were made to head out east! My mom was excited to finally stay in an Airbnb after hearing how many I’d stayed in over the course of my travels, but I booked us an entire place so she could have a good time. Even though I prefer a small, cheap room, I knew my mom would be horrified at this. So I rented us a little “guest house” style place in the town of Marshall, Texas, and made sure it was a good bed since mom would be sleeping in!

My alarm went off at 6:00, meaning though my drive would be in the dark, I was hoping to arrive at the lake’s shore just in time for sunrise. This was a perfect plan except for the fact that it was a gloomy, gloomy morning. I’d been so nervous that my hike would be rained out, so I’d been expecting a muddy hike, but luckily, even though the sky was dark and cloudy, the rain was holding off. I checked out the spooky lake, which was honestly more of a cypress swamp. The dock was located only a few yards from the main hiking trail entrance, and since I had it all to myself, I went out there – but I passed an impossible amount of spiders all over the railings. I do not like spiders.

Satisfied I’d seen the lake, and knowing that would be it for actually exploring Caddo Lake since the kayak rentals were closed for the foreseeable future (via the park’s website), I headed quickly to start my hike. Looking it up before hand, it looked like a few trails, all mainly connecting, that should take me about two hours. However, since I was racing the rain, I got moving quicker than I might’ve normally, meaning it took me more like one hour. And that’s with taking pictures, of course!

There’s not much to say about this trail, though there are lots of cute wooden bridges. Some of the flowers were blooming, telling me spring was (finally!) on its way. The trail was mostly wide and not too steep, but it crossed the creek a lot which gave me some variety of landscape. The rain seemed to be holding, but that meant there was a lot of humidity in the air. Not the worst I’ve been in (looking at you Tulum), but still enough that my hurried pace meant the weather was making me sweat.

That’s pretty much it for the trail hiking, but I think this is where I picked up my first tick ever! Gross! I say think, because I think the bugger hung around on my clothing/backpack for a bit before latching on to me. After the hike, I took a shower and got ready, and it definitely wasn’t on me then. It wasn’t until I’d gotten home from the whole weekend, put away my dirty clothes in the hamper, and cuddled with my boyfriend that he discovered it on my side. It looked tiny and wasn’t bloated at all, telling me it had to have latched in the last couple of hours.

As a girl not too concerned with bugs, I was stressed! I vaguely remembered a Girl Scout trick involving a lighter, but since that only partially worked, my boyfriend ended up having to carefully tweeze it off of me. We were both a little horrified. I talked to a doctor the next day, who told me it hadn’t been on me long enough to cause anything other than a possible fever from infection – but the jury’s still out. I’ll spend the next 30-ish days fretting over Lyme Disease. Does getting my first tick make me a true hiker?

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