Okefenokee Squirrels and Hawks

A passage from my March 5, 2017 Okefenokee journal: Sunday, 9:04 AM – ​Another bright, blue calm morning on Billy’s Lake as we slowly paddle westward for a day up the brown trail to The Sill. Passing on close to the edge of the lake, a funny acting Eastern Gray Squirrel has himself pressed tightly flatContinue reading “Okefenokee Squirrels and Hawks”

That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…

An excerpt from E.A. McIlhenny’s 1935 book, ​The Alligator’s Life History:  “On one occasion I saw a Duroc boar hog that weighed not less than five hundred pounds caught by a large alligator while the hog was swimming across a stream about eighty feet wide. The hog had a regular crossing place at this point, andContinue reading “That’s the last time I saw that hog alive…”

The Long Moss

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter III: “The long moss, so called, is a singular and surprising vegetable production: it grows from the limbs and twigs of all trees in these southern regions, from N. lat. 35 down as far as 28, and I believe every where within the tropics. Wherever it fixes itself,Continue reading “The Long Moss”

Paddle to Billy’s Island

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal on March 11, 2015: Wednesday, 12:17 PM – Grabbing our life vests (but neglecting seat cushions, as we would later regret), we loaded our canoe and headed up the channel toward Billy’s Lake. As we floated by, a beautifully camouflaged American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus, popped his head up fromContinue reading “Paddle to Billy’s Island”

An Old Champion

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “AN old champion, who is perhaps absolute sovereign of a little lake or lagoon (when fifty less than himself are obliged to content themselves with swelling and roaring in little coves round about) darts forth from the reedy coverts all at once, on the surface of the waters,Continue reading “An Old Champion”

Beautiful Billy’s Lake – Okefenokee NWR

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “When the Lees followed the Seminole Indians as the first white settlers on Billy’s Island it was as the God of nature made it. Both the Indians and the Lees left the magnificent trees which covered the island; both took so muchContinue reading “Beautiful Billy’s Lake – Okefenokee NWR”

One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1894 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “But as we were skirting along the shore I suddenly called ‘Hist! An alligator lay on the bank just before us. The boy turned his head, and instantly was all excitement. It was a big fellow, he said,—one of three big ones that inhabited theContinue reading “One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead”

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!”

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”

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”