Navigating The Narrows

A passage from my Okefenokee nature journal dated March 5, 2017:

Canoe trail sign, River Narrows Suwannee Sill, the brown trail; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

Sunday, 9:37 AM – By advantage of the trolling motor, we quickly traveled to the western end of Billy’s Lake. As the lake tapered, the trees and shrubs on the shore greatly increased. We soon passed a sign pointing toward “The Narrows/The Sill.” Even without the sign, it was obvious the canoe trail was entering The Narrows.​

River Narrows Canoe Trail, Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

Quite quickly we were shut in on either side by branches and bushes that arched up over our heads. The canoe trail began to grow shady, winding back and forth with the current through the vegetation, around cypress trees, over downed limbs and logs. The quickening flow of the Suwannee River was made obvious by the ripples around the corners and bases of the trees; an advantage to speed, but a disadvantage to navigation.

Travelling downstream, the current can overtake steering and often put the canoe in spots we did not desire. My daughter’s greatest frustration with the Okefenokee, this trip and last, was crashing into the jagged bushes, often tipped in small spider webs with anticipatory arachnids waiting to jump in for a ride. The Narrows was the peak of this frustration. Other than a bird or two crouching hidden among the vegetation, there was little wildlife to photograph within the confines of The Narrows and all our concentration was spent on navigation.

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