Not a Good Day for Gators

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 next months,Continue reading “Not a Good Day for Gators”

Clouds of Vapour from Their Nostrils

A favorite passage from William Bartram’s Travels,​ published in 1791. “I have seen an alligator take up out of the water several great fish at a time, and just squeeze them betwixt his jaws, while the tails of the great trout flapped about his eyes and lips, ere he had swallowed them. The horrid noise ofContinue reading “Clouds of Vapour from Their Nostrils”

Until Next Time

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 turningContinue reading “Until Next Time”

Alligator Tail

An alligator is a whole lot of tail! Full of muscle and strength, the tail makes up half of an alligator’s total length and is designed for efficient swimming. The tail is laterally compressed (which means it is taller than it is wider) and is topped with tall crests of epidermal scales. This design meansContinue reading “Alligator Tail”

Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks

Within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, there are several habitats contained within one “swamp” ecosystem: lakes, prairies, hammocks and island forests. With such a variety, all day paddling does not become monotonous or boring. ​The open lakes leave one out in full sun with expansive views all around; then the lakes collapse into narrow channelsContinue reading “Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks”

Walk Across on Their Heads

A favorite passage from William Bartram’s Travels,​ published in 1791: “IT was by this time dusk; and the alligators had nearly ceased their roar, when I was again alarmed by a tumultuous noise that seemed to be in my harbour, and therefore engaged my immediate attention. Returning to my camp I found it undisturbed, and thenContinue reading “Walk Across on Their Heads”

The Same Baby Gators?

A passage from my Okefenokee journal from March 2017 after coming upon a pod of juvenile alligators: At 9:50 AM, we reached the Middle Fork Junction and headed north on the Suwannee River up the red trail through beautiful channels of Spatterdock and Neverwet. We had made this journey in 2015 and marked in theContinue reading “The Same Baby Gators?”

DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS!!!

Throughout the Stephen C Foster campground in the Okefenokee Swamp, there are signs warning against the feeding of wildlife. These warnings are no joke. It is now commonly known (hopefully) the dangers of pitching handouts to wildlife. Feeding of bears and alligators causes them to associate humans with food, and that can lead to futureContinue reading “DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS!!!”

Distant Heavy Thunder

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels​ published in 1791. “BUT what is yet more surprising to a stranger, is the incredible loud and terrifying roar, which they are capable of making, especially in the spring season, their breeding time; it most resembles very heavy distant thunder, not only shaking the air and waters, but causing theContinue reading “Distant Heavy Thunder”

The Chirp

A 2015 encounter with a mother alligator and her babies in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge reminded me of the first time I heard that “chirp” in the wild… January, 1997 – ​A shallow, circular pond reflected the tall Longleaf Pines that lined its perimeter. A solitary, sluggish alligator floated on the waters, too coldContinue reading “The Chirp”