Courage, My Daughter!

An excerpt from my March 11, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal: Wednesday, 9:45 AM – In exploring the swamps of Georgia and Florida in the 1700’s the naturalist William Bartram stated, “the alligators were in such incredible numbers, and so close together from shore to shore, that it would have been easy to have walked acrossContinue reading “Courage, My Daughter!”

This Incredible Boldness – William Bartram

“I saw before me, through the clear water, the head and shoulders of a very large alligator, moving slowly towards me; I instantly stepped back, when, with a sweep of his tail, he brushed off several of my fish. It was certainly most providential that I looked up at that instant, as the monster wouldContinue reading “This Incredible Boldness – William Bartram”

World Record Alligators

The largest alligators are said to have been from 15 to 19 feet long. I don’t think any of those 19-footers were scientifically verified, but an internet search shows Mandy Stokes’ 15’9” alligator holds the current world record. The largest Georgia alligator was killed in 2019 and measured 14’1”. ​ I haven’t climbed out of my canoe withContinue reading “World Record Alligators”

Okefenokee Bonnet Lakes

In 1875, The Atlanta Constitution published the dramatic headline: “We now announce to our readers, and the people of Georgia, that we are fitting up an expedition for a complete and thorough exploration of Okefinokee. The full details of the plan and expedition will be published soon – if they come out alive.” Over the nextContinue reading “Okefenokee Bonnet Lakes”

Obliging Alligators

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1894 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “​The river in that part of its course is comfortably narrow,—a great advantage,—winding through cypress swamps, hammock woods, stretches of prairie, and in one place a pine barren; an interesting and in many ways beautiful country, but so unwholesome looking as to lose much ofContinue reading “Obliging Alligators”

Be Aware! Alligators Present

An excerpt from my March 10, 2015 Okefenokee Nature Journal: Tuesday, 6:35 PM – As the fading light of dusk was about to force us to our tent site, a couple walking up the road said, “There is a gator behind the boat barn. But be careful; he’s out of the water and he is biiiiigggg.”Continue reading “Be Aware! Alligators Present”

Okefenokee Alligators: No Laughing Matter

An excerpt from the 1926 book History of the Okefenokee, By Hamp Mizell and AS McQueen: “Alligator hunting affords excellent sport, and requires considerable courage, for it is no laughing matter to haul a wounded alligator into a boat on a dark night. They can – and do – become nasty customers at times andContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligators: No Laughing Matter”

Young’un Screaming Bloody Mercy

Excerpt from The Last Remaining Indian in the Okefenokee Swamp, by Tommy Hartley: “Old man Lee was laying on the end of the porch sunning, same as the gator. He heard the young’un screaming bloody mercy as the gator was get’en her and draggin’ her to where he could get into the water with ‘er. TheContinue reading “Young’un Screaming Bloody Mercy”

Okefenokee Anticipation

Whenever an Okefenokee excursion comes to an end, I am immediately antsy about another trip. Typically I have to wait another year, but sometimes two! During the wait, the anticipation builds. I frequently gaze at the large fold-out National Geographic topographic map I purchased at the Stephen C Foster State Park trading post in 2015Continue reading “Okefenokee Anticipation”

Okefenokee Alligator – a log with eyes

“Sam lay rolled in blankets beside Frodo. ‘I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped, Mr. Frodo,’ he said. ‘Or maybe it wasn’t a dream… I saw a log with eyes!’  ‘The log’s all right,’ said Frodo. ‘There are many in the River. But leave out the eyes!’” – Lord ofContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator – a log with eyes”