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”

Navigating The Narrows

A passage from my Okefenokee nature journal dated March 5, 2017: Sunday, 9:37 AM – By advantage of the trolling motor, we quickly traveled to the western end of Billy’s Lake. As the lake tapered, the trees and shrubs on the shore greatly increased. We soon passed a sign pointing toward “The Narrows/The Sill.” EvenContinue reading “Navigating The Narrows”

Deep Booming Roar

An excerpt from E.A. McIlhenny’s 1935 book, The Alligator’s Life History: “​The deep booming roar of a twelve foot male alligator is a sound that once heard will never be forgotten. It is not unlike the first boom note of the ostrich, or the deep, slow-throat roar of the lion before he begins the quickContinue reading “Deep Booming Roar”

Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit

On our May 2020 Okefenokee canoe trek, the Golden Clubs were no longer sporting many of those beautiful yellow and white spikes that were abundant in early spring. But upon paddling close to a plume of leaves, I saw something a bit different floating in the tannin waters… fruit! Either I had overlooked the fruitContinue reading “Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit”

Okefenokee Beauty and Charm

From the broad, sweeping bird’s-eye-view, down to the smallest detail of living organism, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is full of beauty and charm. Perhaps alligators and snakes are the first thing conjured in the mind upon hearing the word “swamp”, but peace, solitude and fascination come to my thoughts. My first visits to theContinue reading “Okefenokee Beauty and Charm”

He has come here to die…

​A spooky excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895: ​There—going one day farther than usual—I found myself in the borderland of a cypress swamp. On one side was the lake, but between me and it were cypress-trees; and on the other side was the swamp itself, a dense wood growing inContinue reading “He has come here to die…”

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”

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 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”

Okefenokee – Dark, Dangerous and Foreboding

“The artist can find in this Swamp scenes for masterpieces – from the beautiful to the somber – for a while there are scenes of unsurpassed beauty, there are others dark, dangerous and foreboding.” Excerpt from the 1926 History Of Okefenokee Swamp by A S McQueen And Hamp Mizell iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29933513