Okefenokee Anticipation

Large American Alligator laying in the swamp surrounded by lily pads. Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 4, 2017. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

Whenever an Okefenokee excursion comes to an end, I am immediately antsy about another trip. Typically I have to wait another year, but sometimes two! During the wait, the anticipation builds. I frequently gaze at the large fold-out National Geographic topographic map I purchased at the Stephen C Foster State Park trading post in 2015 and hung on my office wall.  I am astonished by the immensity of the swamp: the seemingly endless road into the refuge is a mere toothpick’s length on the 3’ square map. Much of metro-Atlanta could be swamped waist deep in the Okefenokee’s total acreage.

Of all the vastness in this huge wilderness area, only three main canoe trails, just over 100 miles total, transect the refuge map. Looking at the other areas void of trails and shelters makes me to ponder these less frequented areas. Are they open lakes, prairies or dense swamps? Do the alligators and swamp bears concentrate there more than the frequented areas? How about bobcat and cougars? What scenes do Red Bird Prairie and Hickory Hammock hold? And “Strange Island”: what mysteries lie there? Pockets of Cottonmouths or rattlesnakes? I can’t wait to get back again!


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