Slither Through the Swamps
SABINE RIVER BELOW TOLEDO BEND Many miles from the modern-day hurly-burly and rich in primeval border mystique, the Sabine slips down the Louisiana line past forests and swamps like a giant water snake slithering through an ancestral dream. On a recent canoe trip my guide and I put in at the spillway below Toledo Bend Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the South, and took out on the Louisiana side 21 miles and a day and a half later. Our traveling companions were bald eagles and herons. We passed fishing shacks and second homes lining the eastern bank of the river, but the Texas side, where we camped on a sand berm, was empty. Despite its lack of white-water challenges, the adventurous among us will relish the Sabine’s isolation and natural beauty.
Toledo Bend access: From Jasper, go north on U.S. 96 for about 12 miles, turn right onto FM 255, drive 31 miles to FM 692, turn left, and the spillway is on your right. The Sabine River Authority Web site ( sra.dst.tx.us) lists other put-in and take-out points. Outfitter: Adventure Canoeing and Outfitters, in LeBlanc, Louisiana, provides canoes ($16 per person per day, includes shuttle) and a take-out point with camping; 337-207-6936, justcanoeit.net. Charlie Llewellin
Canoe Colorado Canyon
RIO GRANDE IN BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK If you’ve had only one floating experience in the Big Bend area, chances are it was down the famed Santa Elena Canyon. But if you’re willing to go