Why is the Okefenokee so dear to me? Since my college days I loved the swamp, alligators, snakes, etc. But the Okefenokee has grown so fond in my heart because of the bonding moments I’ve shared with my daughter canoeing and camping there. Below is an excerpt from my March 2015 nature journal describing why I love the Okefenokee:
“Amanda and I are sitting side by side at the end of the boardwalk, our feet dangling above the swamp. An orange setting sun has dropped below the tree line to our left, putting the Cypress trees and Spanish Moss into picturesque silhouette. The fading evening sky is a vibrant blue accented by billowy clouds glowing a purplish-orange from the setting sun. Two Barred Owls are conversing with each other far off behind us, asking each other, ‘Who cooks for you? Who cooks for youuuuu?’ To my right sounds the rattle of a Kingfisher scanning the pools for one last fish of the day. Amanda is leaning on my shoulder as we peer out into the swamp. A guttural Egret croak breaks the relative silence not too far from our feet, and is followed by a second. A Great Blue Heron is flying slowly at a distance from our right and goes out of sight toward the setting sun.
“A small flock of Ibises crosses overhead in the other direction; snow white birds with bold black wing stripes and long, orange, sickle-shaped bills. The solitude is pleasant; nobody else has ventured out on the boardwalk with us. No human voices; no sound of cars, no barking dogs, no beeping texts or ringing phones. Amanda takes my hand as we walk back toward our campsite. I came for gators and an escape, but this is a real bonus of the getaway:
‘Thanks for coming with me, Amanda.’ ‘Thanks for bringing me.’ ‘I love you.’ ‘I love you too, dad.'”