Home Away From Home

In 1851, the American songwriter Stephen C. Foster sang of the Okefenokee’s Suwannee River as “home” in the song, Old Folks at Home. And over 150 years later, my daughter and I are calling the Stephen C. Foster State Park our home-away-from-home! After a full day in the hot sun, and after toiling across Billy’s LakeContinue reading “Home Away From Home”

Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations

The flooded prairies and hammocks of the Okefenokee Swamp hold acre after acre of standing, dead wood. An abundance of snags (dead trees) means abundant woodpeckers. There are eight species of woodpecker found in the Okefenokee, and one formerly occurring species – the Ivory Billed Woodpecker – that is now extinct. ​ The excavations ofContinue reading “Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations”

Okefenokee Upland Pine Trail

By definition, a swamp doesn’t have much high ground not inundated with water. Therefore, there aren’t too many dry hiking trails in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Canoeing and kayaking are the primary means of enjoying this wonderful habitat. There are a couple of islands – Floyds, Billy’s and a few others – where youContinue reading “Okefenokee Upland Pine Trail”

Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It is rather hard to determine how these so-called “prairies” of the Okefenokee came by this name. These prairies are better described as marshes, for they are covered by numerous water plants, such as the water lily, maiden cane, saw-grass, etc. OneContinue reading “Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem”

Like an Umbrella

– Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels; Part II, Chapter III “From the buttress, the Cypress, as it were, takes another beginning, forming a grand strait column eighty or ninety feet high, when it divides every way around into an extensive flat horizontal top, like an umbrella, where eagles have their secure nests, and cranes and storksContinue reading “Like an Umbrella”

Okefenokee Magnificent White Bonnet Lily Blooms

“A man who has spent his entire life in and near the Swamp describes the setting of Gannet Lake as follows: From this lake one can look across a five-mile stretch of prairie and see the large green lily leaves floating around and the magnificent white bonnet lily blooms, which look as white as snow,Continue reading “Okefenokee Magnificent White Bonnet Lily Blooms”

Here Lived and Loved Another Race of Beings

In an 1825 oration, early American poet ​Charles Sprague beautifully laments the  extirpation of the American Indian that once roamed the lands like the Okefenokee: “Not many generations ago, the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole unscared. Here lived and loved another race of beings. Beneath the sameContinue reading “Here Lived and Loved Another Race of Beings”

Okefenokee Hooded Pitcher Plants

Multiple trips to the Okefenokee and I hadn’t seen a Pitcher Plant since 1997. So on this May 2020 trip I was going to find and photograph that signature swamp Sarracenia! From what I had read, some of the largest Hooded Pitchers – up to three or four feet – grow in the Okefenokee Swamp.Continue reading “Okefenokee Hooded Pitcher Plants”

Okefenokee Floating Islands

“These floating islands present a very entertaining prospect; for although we behold an assemblage of the primary productions of nature only, yet the imagination seems to remain in suspence and doubt; as in order to enliven the delusion and form a most picturesque appearance, we see not only flowery plants, clumps of shrubs, old weather-beatenContinue reading “Okefenokee Floating Islands”

Okefenokee Social Distancing

“Every cloud has a silver lining.” While I’m typically not one to use happy little inspirational poster quotes, this one held true for me in May 2020. The coronavirus shutdown of the entire world gave many of us weeks of free time as we isolated at home. I chose to take isolation to the extremeContinue reading “Okefenokee Social Distancing”