South Georgia Pine Flat-woods

Headed to the Okefenokee

I kissed my wife goodbye and headed south with my daughter for 217 miles on Interstate 75. The further south we drove, the higher the temperature readout displayed. Hour after hour, and mile after mile of semi-trucks, exits, and billboards until finally, just 16 miles shy of the Florida line, we turn due east at Valdosta, Georgia.

Black and White Okefenokee Cypress Swamp photograph with Great Egret bird, Georgia. Burned tree stumps and prairie grasses of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March, 2015. Please do not steal my images. Download and use legally from

Another sixty-one miles of long, flat, boring roads through the pine flat-woods of South Georgia on GA-94. Besides the occasional barns and homesteads, the landscape is devoid of memorable landmarks. If the roads weren’t so perfectly straight, one might feel as if he were going in circles. In his Florida Sketch Book, Bradford Torrey writes…

“…the traveler rides hour after hour through seemingly endless pine barrens, otherwise known as low pine-woods and flat-woods, till he wearies of the sight.”

Bradford Torrey, Florida Sketch Book, 1894

The pine flat-woods in South Georgia are much different than the pine forests of the Piedmont. The southern pines seem taller and less foliated; they are more mindful of each others’ personal space than their crowded Loblolly cousins in the north. With only patches of Saw Palmetto and Broomsedge, the pines stretch beyond and behind, and on either side; like fields of telephone poles ever receding as one approaches. Other than passing shadows cast by the soaring vultures, there is little shade or retreat from the overhead sun.

We will soon be entering the Okefenokee, the Land of Trembling Earth…

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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