The Chance of Meeting an Alligator

Excerpt from the 1912 Okefenokee journal of Dr. W.D. Funkhouser: “We five started in alone, carrying 50 pound packs, with a compass as our guide. The water was from waist to shoulder deep, full of giant cypress trees, and so closely overgrown with underbrush and entangling vines that we literally had to cut our wayContinue reading “The Chance of Meeting an Alligator”

Okefenokee Swamp Melanistic Pileated Woodpecker

Going through some older Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge posts, I found this unique observation from April 12, 2010 by iNaturalist member Marv Elliott: a melanistic Pileated Woodpecker (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/538467). Contacting Marv about his observation, he replied: “My wife (Susan) and I are birders and Naturalists. We were driving the main road, saw the pileated and knew itContinue reading “Okefenokee Swamp Melanistic Pileated Woodpecker”

Okefenokee Blackwater River

The Suwannee; a mysterious blackwater river. Textured cypress tower high above, doubled in their height by their reflection in the obsidian-glass water. Their knees bumping and hindering the passage of the canoe. Pale green lichens and mosses creep out of the waters, ascending the base of every tree. Like swaying specters, the Spanish moss hauntsContinue reading “Okefenokee Blackwater River”

A Cautious Eye in the Okefenokee

A great start to our 2020 Okefenokee paddling trek! As we pushed off from the Stephen C Foster State Park boat launch and into the blackwaters of the Okefenokee Swamp, I kept an eye on things. Although the giant reptiles weren’t immediately visible, there certainly could be alligators to the left and the right ofContinue reading “A Cautious Eye in the Okefenokee”

Okefenokee in ‘The Wilderness Coast’

An Okefenokee excerpt from Jack Rudloe’s, The Wilderness Coast “The sun was just rising, but it was already hot when we launched our canoe just below the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. We were beginning the 217-mile journey through Georgia and Florida to the Gulf of Mexico on the Suwannee River. “We paddled for days, withContinue reading “Okefenokee in ‘The Wilderness Coast’”

Okefenokee Bittern: Hidden in Plain Sight

My daughter and I were only ten minutes into a four-day canoe trip through the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and already we had missed something! As we were paddling up the channel to Billy’s Lake from the Stephen C. Foster State Park boat ramp, we pulled to the side to let a tourist-laden pontoon boatContinue reading “Okefenokee Bittern: Hidden in Plain Sight”

The Okefenokee Swamp – Morning on Billy’s Lake

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – After a breakfast of freeze-dried biscuits and gravy, we loaded the cooler and our packs for a full day of paddling. We were going to press further up the Suwanee River than on our guided tour, perhaps 10 miles up closer to the heart of the swamp. Coming upon Billy’sContinue reading “The Okefenokee Swamp – Morning on Billy’s Lake”

Okefenokee, give us a sign!

After miles of seemingly endless, boring driving through pine flat-woods, one hopes for a sign from heaven that the swamp is nearing. And that first “sign” is literally a large, wooden sign marking the entrance to the refuge! The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a “refuge and breeding ground for migratoryContinue reading “Okefenokee, give us a sign!”

The Alligator Abounds…

The dreaded and formidable rattlesnake is yet too common, and a variety of other serpents abound, particularly that admirable creature, the glass-snake: I saw a very large and beautiful on, a little distance from our camp. The alligator, a species of crocodile, abounds in the rivers and swamps, near the sea coast… On the recollectionContinue reading “The Alligator Abounds…”