Around this time last year, I wrote about taking our Boy Scouts on the annual Swamp Tromp hike and camping trip at Percy Quin State Park. For several years running, this 10-mile hike has been their favorite event of the year, and now another year has rolled around and it is time for us to Tromp in the Swamp again!
But then a few weeks ago someone told me that Percy Quin’s nature trail had been devastated by the ice storms in January – that there were trees down on the trail and fallen trees had destroyed the boardwalks and made the trail totally impassible. It sounded pretty bad.
I tried to contact the Rangers a couple of times but couldn’t get hold of them and some of the park employees told me that there was some damage out there but they weren’t sure how much.
Another buddy of mine posted on fb that she’d been walking on the nature trail recently so I sent her a comment asking what the trails and boardwalks looked like. She said she’d not gone all that far, but what she’d done was passable. But then she got some further comments on that thread about how terribly impassible the trail was – especially near the Group Camp.
Still sounding grim, I asked the Boy Scouts if they wanted to pick an alternate venue for the Swamp Tromp. We talked about maybe Ethel Vance or Potkopinu, but I got a pretty lackluster response at best.
Apparently, my adventure muse, Ernesto, has infected them with some of his ideas. He often tells me that an adventure is not worth going on unless he gets 2-3 dire warnings beforehand about how impossible it is.
So, today I scooped up a couple of my sons and we went to survey the damage ourselves before the upcoming Swamp Tromp. We started at the south trailhead by the football fields and hiked a mile in to a river crossing where I knew the road had been completely washed away last year around October.
I figured this was one of the make-or-break points for our Swamp Tromp, because when I was there in October last year it was an impossibly wide, deep, and swift-moving thing that I nearly killed myself getting past. (But that is a story for another day!)
So, look what I found today – someone had thrown a couple of culverts in the middle of the wash and used them to form a series of debris bridges. Totally passable! (I didn’t cross them but I prodded at the debris bridge with a walking stick and it seemed pretty stable.)
In fact, in the eyes of my Scouts Percy Quin will definitely get mega bonus points for adding such an interesting obstacle as this. This is definitely a feature instead of a problem!
Then we backtracked and drove to the other side of the Park to the north trailhead, where we walked in to the farthest bridge. Guess what we found? All bridges except one were in perfect condition. No trees down, no problems at all.
The one bridge that was amiss was actually completely missing! This was one of the bridges that Whit had repaired two years ago but it had been lifted by a flood and deposited elsewhere, but someone had taken the timbers from it and laid them across the slough to re-route the trail.
So, as of today, the Swamp Tromp scheduled for early April is on for Percy Quin, and it looks to be a blast! If anything, we might have to pray for rain or do a rain dance between now and then just to raise the water and the interest factor a touch 😉
I guess you never know until you go!
As a bonus, during our jaunt today, the Forida anise and the wild Azaleas were a riot of blossoms! I’d often seen the anise in the bottoms at Percy Quin, but I guess I’ve just never been through there when the Azaleas were blooming.
You know what this means, huh? It means that we now know the prime time to schedule our backpacking trek at the Wild Azalea Trail in Southeast Louisiana – Spring Break 2019 here we come!