Okefenokee Getaway

The Okefenokee Swamp teaches us a something about our lives on this planet. It lets us know how dependent we are upon our modern comforts.

Chesser Island Swamper family homestead
Chesser Family homestead cabin in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. The Chessers were pioneer swamp settlers in the 1800`s. January 23, 2021 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Many a traveler or adventure-seeker comes to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to “get away from it all.” And rightly so! Yet even in our effort to “leave it all behind”, we bring so much with us. A few days in the primitive world of the Okefenokee brings a realization of how dependent we are upon our ___ (fill in the blank with that thing you just can’t live without). For just a short three-day paddle we bring all sorts of advanced gear: ultralight kayak, carbon fiber oars, a mini stove, a small pillow, a portable latrine, water purifier and coolers to keep our food for days.

But let us stay just a few days longer than expected and we find our expensive gizmos are of no more use! Flashlight and GPS batteries die with no outlets to resurrect their life. Memory cards fill and our thousand dollar camera is now just added, useless weight working against our paddling. And the signal to our expensive cellphone was lost after the first mile we rowed into the swamp. And if you run out of food, what next? Do we know what wild foods are good to eat, or which will kill us?

It is hard to imagine how the Swampers lived this way permanently, and even more primitively. They are proof that it can be done, and has been done, without all the modern technological crutches! If you truly want to get away, try to minimize as much as possible and truly leave it all behind a few days in the Okefenokee. It’s a real challenge! (One that I haven’t even tried myself!)

1 Comment

  1. The Okefenokee was likely a better place than most to live 150 years ago. Fish, turtles and gators from the abundant waters, deer, bear and wild swine in the hammocks. Trot lines and a shotgun would provide well.


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