As Capt. Ron Gibbs navigates his pontoon boat down a narrow waterway lined with bald cypress trees dripping Spanish moss, he shuts off the motor. The only noise punctuating the silence is birds calling as the boat glides under the bright summer sun on Caddo Lake.
Visitors to this lake tucked away in Texas' forested northeast corner find a mysterious labyrinth of swamps, sloughs and bayous that are home to a vast array of wildlife from owls to eagles to alligators. A boat tour of the lake takes visitors through seas of bright green water lilies, down shaded watery avenues and past islands of dense forest.
"There are some areas that are so primeval it'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up," said Gibbs, whose Graceful Ghost Steamboat Company Inc. is one of several outfits offering boat tours of the lake. "It's a supernatural feeling. It's downright spooky in some areas."
"It's hauntingly beautiful. It's an enchanting lake," Gibbs said.
The lake's "flooded forest," which has trees that are more than 400 years old, was created when the lake level rose after bald cypress trees germinated on the dry lake bed in a low-water period, said Todd Dickinson, park manager of the state's 484-acre Caddo Lake State Park.
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