Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks

An Okefenokee Swamp Panorama; March 12, 2015. ©

Within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, there are several habitats contained within one “swamp” ecosystem: lakes, prairies, hammocks and island forests. With such a variety, all day paddling does not become monotonous or boring.

​The open lakes leave one out in full sun with expansive views all around; then the lakes collapse into narrow channels bordered by tall Cypress with the curtains of Spanish Moss obscuring a view into the deeper reaches of the swamp; then opening again into large, grassy prairies with well-spaced, tall snags reaching into open sky.

American Alligator basking on a fallen cypress in an Okefenokee Swamp Prairie habitat. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 12, 2015. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

The turns and curves of the canoe trails, further concealed by large Cypress buttresses and patches of vegetation, limit the oncoming view, and constantly renew that “what’s up ahead?” anticipation. The color contrasts of earth tones keep the senses awakened: medium browns of Cypress bark, swaying grays of Spanish Moss, floating rich greens of vegetation, dark liquid tannin swirling below, and blue heaven above. Colorful white, red and yellow stems of Neverwet emerge from the water adding flashes of vibrant, eye-catching color to the scene. A beautiful place of which the eye and mind never become weary.

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