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!

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 www.williamwisephoto.com 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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