The Narrows

River Narrows Suwannee Sill canoe trail directional sign; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 2, 2020. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Between the open skies of Billy’s Lake and the prairie landscape of Mixon’s Hammock lies a twisting, constricted canoe trail called “The Narrows”. The sky overhead is darkened by Black Gum, Cypress, Bay, Red Maple and Dahoon Holly. The eye-level view left and right is overcrowded by Titi, Hurrah Bush and other shrubs. Unless the refuge cutter boats have recently passed through, sharp sticks and twigs stab toward the narrow channel hoping to impale the unskilled kayaker.

The current flows westward from Billy’s Lake toward the Sill. This seems like an advantage to the westbound paddler, but don’t be deceived. The current can carry you along so quickly that steering becomes difficult and pushes you into the scratchy shrubs lining the narrow channel. Many of these protruding limbs are tipped with spiders, and even snakes, to jump aboard the canoe.

A Brown Watersnake overhangs the canoe trail through The Narrows; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 2, 2020.©
Golden Silk Spider; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 4, 2020. ©

Even though the current is against you heading back to Billy’s Lake, I have found it a much more enjoyable journey with time as the steering is much more manageable.

iNaturalist observations:

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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