Swamp Land

Thursday, December 23, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Game 6:  Lafayette, LA

Driving west across Louisiana on I-12, we passed a sign for Tickfaw State Park.  A synapse sparked, and a deeply embedded memory of a puzzle solved months ago reminded us that a mystery letterbox was hidden at the park.  Exiting the interstate, we located the clue and discovered that there was not just one but a series of seven letterboxes at the park.
Ready for some time out of the car, we eagerly set off down the trail.  The letterboxes turned out to be a real treat, expertly carved stamps of some of Louisiana's state symbols, including the flag, state bird, tree, fish, mammal, crustacean, and flower.
Although we were initially a bit put off by the first part of the name of this park, we were so glad we stopped to visit this cleverly designed and doggedly maintained state park. 
Through a system of trails and boardwalks, we experienced the sights and sounds of four ecosystems in the park-- a cypress/tupelo swamp, a bottomland hardwood forest, a mixed pine/hardwood forest and the Tickfaw River. Summer weather has not left this area, so we encountered butterflies and other insects (no gnats or mosquitoes!) as well as numerous types of birds on our hike, including a great blue heron taking flight. After a picnic lunch, we were back on the road and headed west.

Where else would a Lafayette's Ice Gators hockey team play but the Cajundome?  Also known on hockey nights as the "Frozen Swamp," the arena is home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Ragin' Cajuns basketball team.
Unfortunately for the local fans, the Ice Gators were seriously outplayed by the visiting Ice Flyers from Pensacola, with the visitors winning 5-2.  The Florida players were bigger, more experienced, and much more skilled.  Moreover, they seemed to have more stamina and desire than the local team.  It was easy to see why Pensacola is tied for first place in the league while Lafayette languishes at the bottom.
Early in the first period, a Louisiana player initiated a fight, in which his helmet was removed.  Seeing the faux mohawk, we groaned, thinking the pugnacious Augusta player had been traded to Lafayette.  We soon learned, however, that this was Dennis Sicard, another bellicose bad boy who coincidentally (or not) had played on the same Bloomington, Indiana, team as Fukala last year.  Officials saved us from further rubbish from this ruffian by ejecting Sicard from the game after this incident.

Our next game will be back where we started watching minor league hockey last year, in Pensacola. 

Game Stats
Shots on goal:  62
Penalty minutes:  34
Attendance:  1,599
Broken sticks:  0
Flying pucks:  7
Booty-shaking cheerleaders:  8
T-shirts thrown into stands:  43
Mascot:  Insti-Gator
OHE (overall hockey experience):  3.75 (on a scale of 1 to 5)

Trip Stats
Miles driven:  3,297
Goals scored:  33
Shots on goal:  377
Penalty minutes:  230
Letterboxes found:  61
Temp range:  14° to 75° F.