Until Next Time

An excerpt from my March 2015 Okefenokee Journal:

A large American Alligator basking on a cypress log on the Suwannee River Middle Fork canoe trail in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Georgia. March 12, 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – As the afternoon wore on and the cypress shadows lengthened, I realized we couldn’t paddle the full ten miles to Big Water and make it back before sunset. We paused to relax in the peaceful sanctity of the swamp stillness before turning around. In a small, sheltered pool on the Middle Fork between Minnies Lake and Big Water, a single large gator lay upon a downed cypress. His impressive girth filled the viewfinder of my camera.

​The trip back southward on the Suwannee was surprisingly more pleasant as we paddled with the current. Other than a “spider” that fell into Amanda’s lap (which turned out to be a stick), nearly causing her to abandon ship into gator infested waters, the trip back was pretty much without incident. We stopped again at the GPS waypoint I had labeled “baby gators” to spent some more time with mom and her chirping brood. Then we lazily allowed the wind and current to push us down Billy’s Lake back toward “home.”

Back at camp for the evening, the overcast skies and strong gusts hinted at a storm that never came. Thinking ahead with a bit of sadness, our next morning would be waking early, breaking camp and heading home. To get one last moment of solitary enjoyment, Amanda and I walked the campground together. At one point she placed her hand in mine as we strolled. A great time together, and well worth it. We said goodbye to Sophie, the resident gator at the Stephen C Foster boat ramp, and hoped to come again next year. Until next time…

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30254856


  1. My wife and I along with the Ranger in the store and a few other folks watched Sophie one day with a big turtle on her back. Then suddenly she shook the turtle off her back and ate the turtle.  The ranger said Sophie until then always tolerated the turtle getting a free ride on her back. Don’t know what changed in their relationship. Richard Harris

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was there earlier this year, Sophie lost an eye from a fishhook, which was still embedded in her eye. I don’t know how she has fared since, but hope to see her on my upcoming November trip for the photography workshop. Thanks for reading and commenting. Love the Sophie story. William


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