An excerpt from my March 2015 Okefenokee Journal:
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