Bayou Goula Towhead

People in Baton Rouge don't seem to think much about the river. As a newcomer, whenever I asked people about swimming or boating in the river I always got a similar reprimand about the danger: I would get sucked under, hit by barge, or caught in submerged debris. I was shocked that I never found anyone who had gone swimming in the Mississippi or explored much of its coast. People who don't make their living from the river barely acknowledge its existence. Even along the river trail, the muddy waters themselves are barely visible, hidden behind a veil of trees.

Last year I succesfully accomplished my long-time goal of swimming across the river but it was what I found after the swim that captured my imagination. On the western banks of the river between the shore and the levee was a dense swamp of ancient cypress trees. Air plants hung down from high overhead, and the sun was dimmed by layer after layer of lush canopy.

This primeval forest that I crawled into from off the muddy banks was everything I had dreamed the swamps of Louisiana to be. It was everything that was sorely lacking in the decimated ecosystems that were more accessible around the state. With the remainder of our time here, it would fall on Team Crowbar to reveal the secrets of the Mississippi River.

Our first goal was to reach one of the larger islands in the river, known as Bayou Goula Towhead. We didn't know what to expect out there, internet rumors hinted at drug farms, secret government installations, or dangerously reclusive inhabitants. Our own examination of satellite imagery hadn't revealed any visible signs of current or previous habitation and so we hoped that we would find the island a pristine example of the river ecosystem.

Yesterday morning we left Baton Rouge by kayak, travelling downstream. As the island became visible we saw unmarred white sand beaches surrounding a dense forest. Birds called raucously to eachother throughout the trees. Our kayaks crunched onto the sandy beach.

With the boats safely hidden and secured we set out to explore the interior of the island. Armed with machete and camera we cut a path through the twisting vines determined to record and return with what we had seen here.


See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning