BIG THICKET NATIONAL PRESERVE —Ranger Leslie Dubey lifted a paddle and dipped it into the still brown waters, her kayak gliding as noiselessly as the great blue heron that just slid across our path in these cypress-tupelo sloughs.
Two decades spent probing this once-impenetrable wilderness and interpreting it for visitors have made Leslie a true Big Thicket denizen. So naturally, when I followed her into the bayou on a sunny Saturday in March, I left the navigation to her and focused on the scenery, alternately shooting photos of the ancient trees and glassy water and trying to keep up. I was mindful of the danger for my cameras should I hit a snag and tip overboard, but the risk of personal danger had not yet occurred to me.
The Sour Lake Saga—The healing mineral springs that put this Big Thicket town on the map as a 19th-century resort for the rich and famous are long gone; all that remains is a toxic lake, compliments of Texaco. But Librarian Sherry Williams is determined to give the town its due.