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”

Okefenokee Black Bear Tracks

Alligators aren’t the only megafauna of the great Okefenokee Swamp! I’ve made several excursions to the Okefenokee, but have never had the privilege of spotting a bear. I get a bit jealous as I see iNaturalist observations of Black Bears lumbering through the Stephen C Foster campground, or in other places throughout the swamp. ​Continue reading “Okefenokee Black Bear Tracks”

Okefenokee Magnificent White Bonnet Lily Blooms

“A man who has spent his entire life in and near the Swamp describes the setting of Gannet Lake as follows: From this lake one can look across a five-mile stretch of prairie and see the large green lily leaves floating around and the magnificent white bonnet lily blooms, which look as white as snow,Continue reading “Okefenokee Magnificent White Bonnet Lily Blooms”

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”

Okefenokee Florida Red-bellied Cooter Turtle

The Florida Redbelly Turtle is another common aquatic turtle I’ve spotted on my canoe adventures throughout the Okefenokee Swamp. A close look at Pseudemys nelsoni reveals two cusps on its upper beak which differentiates it from the other turtles in the refuge. The Suwannee River, which runs through the Okefenokee, is the northern border ofContinue reading “Okefenokee Florida Red-bellied Cooter Turtle”

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”

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 Green Heron

An excerpt from my March 10, 2015 Okefenokee Journal; my daughter’s first trip to the Okefenokee. Tuesday, 4:13 PM – After pitching camp in the Stephen C Foster State Park campground, the game with my daughter was to see who would spot our first alligator. So we headed down the Trembling Earth Nature Trail andContinue reading “Okefenokee Green Heron”