This riveting story was published in 1875 in The Savannah Morning News from the journal of the Okefenokee exploration party:
“As alligators are rather tardy in their movements, it is an accomplished trick with them to lay quietly for the passing little fish, or sometimes for a full-grown cow. When we thought of our carcass furnishing a meal for the brutes, our feelings could better be imagined than described. Our fears as to their proximity were soon verified. Before we had wade more than half across, the cry came down the line (we were in Indian file), “Look out!” About ten feet to the left of the head of the column the water was seen in commotion and the bonnets being disturbed, as though some monster was forcing a passage through them just below the surface of the water. “Gator, boys!” exclaimed Uncle Ben; and the order to “clear up” was given. Mud and water boiled in our wake as we attempted to make quick time to the opposite side. When the head man struck the bushes his progress was impeded, and those of us who were unfortunately in the rear, had to pause a few moments before we could proceed. There we stood, the writer the hindmost man, with a double-barreled gun in his hand, ready for action. But where would the alligator take hold? This and a thousand other fears flashed through our mind before we got to the harbor of safety – the scrub on the other side.”
– Savannah Morning News. Savannah, Georgia. May 25, 1875
Having almost stepped on a gator laying in the weeds at Harris Neck NWR down there I can only imagine how stressful that had to be standing in the water. Note, if my gator had not opened its eyes on my downstep I would have landed right on its head.
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