Miss Elaine and I went to Louisiana so she could research an article on the Creole Nature Trail. This is a 180-mile road that travels through several ecosystems in southwest Louisiana. A lot of it is wetlands -- very important habitat for birds and a nursery for lots of species for sea life in the Gulf of Mexico. The Creole Nature Trail is one of a select few roads in the nation which have been designated All-American Roads because of their unique features -- scenery, history, culture. Unfortunately, this part of the country has been hit by hurricanes several times in the last few years. The latest hit was September, 2008, when Hurricane Ike sent a 12-foot storm surge over the countryside. I spent most of the drive in the car -- it was drizzly out and you know what water does to my fur! Nobody wanted to ride in the car with a wet bear! Here are some pictures of what I saw, and even some pictures of me! (You know you can make the pictures bigger so you can see them better if you just click on them.)So much water came in with the storm surge -- waves of water pushed by the hurricane winds -- that big chunks of the road were picked up like using a spatula to get brownies out of a pan!Even though the hurricane hit three months ago, I could still see a LOT of damage.
The Trail crosses the shipping channel where huge tankers travel. They would have had to build a REALLY tall bridge for the ships to go under. Instead, cars get across on a ferryboat. I liked it and I could see dolphins in the water!There are four wildlife refuges on the Trail but only one was partially open when we were there. The others were still being repaired. This is me with Miss Katie (from the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau). It was very cold and all the wildlife, except me, refused to come out!Don't worry -- this alligator is not alive! I wouldn't get that close! Did you know that alligators can run so fast that they could get a speeding ticket in a school zone? I wouldn't want to try to arrest one!
The winds from the hurricane pushed the ocean water ahead of it in a series of giant waves called "storm surge. The water soaked the ground and literally lifted big pieces of road.There was a lot of damage -- and these pictures were taken three months after the storm. You know you can make the pictures larger by clicking on them, don't you?The Trail crosses the shipping channel but there's no bridge! They would have to make a very, very tall bridge for the big ships to go under, so, instead, cars go across by ferry boat. I liked it and I could see dolphins swimming in the water.There are four wildlife refuges on the Trail. Three of them were still closed because of damage. We did get to go on the wetlands walkway at the Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge. I was about the wildest wildlife there -- it was too cold for everything else. This is Miss Elaine's friend, Miss Katie, from the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.Don't worry! This alligator is stuffed!
Miss Elaine went to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to do research for an article about the Creole Nature Trail. This is a 180-mile road that goes through marshlands (marshes are watery prairies, swamps are watery forests) down to the Gulf of Mexico. This is an important habitat for lots of species of animals. It's also a nursery for many of the sea creatures from the Gulf. There are lots of birds there and more alligators than people! The United States Department of Transportation chooses the most scenic and/or historic roads in the country and designates them National Scenic Byways. There are 125 of them. Twenty-seven of these roads are so special that they are singled out as "All-American Roads." The Creole Nature Trail is one of them. Unfortunately, this part of the country has been hit by several hurricanes in the past few years. In 2005, Hurricane Rita did a lot of flood and wind damage to the area. The region was just recovering, then, September, 2008, Hurricane Ike hit it again. I spent most of the day in the car -- it was rainy -- and you know what happens to my fur! Here are some pictures of things I could see from the window.