Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod

Thursday, 10:21 AM – After a slow paddle a few miles up the Suwannee Middle Fork canoe trail from Billy’s Lake, the overhanging cypress and moss curtains pulled off a bit and the channel opened to blue sky. The waterway became filled with vibrant green lily pads and the floating spatterdock “gater taters” tricked ourContinue reading “Okefenokee Baby Alligator Pod”

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”

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”

How to Pee in the Okefenokee!

After a few hours of paddling, the thought usually comes to mind, “What about using the bathroom.” If you’re not prepared, this can be a leg-crossing conundrum! Thankfully, along some of the canoe trails, distinct, man-made features oddly stand out amongst the swamp scenery: large wooden platforms topped with a roof, picnic table and outhouse!Continue reading “How to Pee in the Okefenokee!”

Okefenokee Alligator Trails

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It was in the early winter of 1874 that my father found Chase Prairie. On this trip, and on all others thereafter he always carried a small pole about 8 feet long with an old bayonet on the end which was usedContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator Trails”

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”

New Hope from a Young Cypress

There is hope in seeing a young Okefenokee Cypress taking root and reaching toward the sky. The naturalists of old write of towering cypress – some as high as 120 feet – standing guard for centuries in the Okefenokee. But all that changed in the early 20th century. All were laid low. The height, girth,Continue reading “New Hope from a Young Cypress”

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”

Okefenokee Primeval Prairies

An excerpt from Francis Harper’s 1913 paper “A Biological Reconnaissance of the Okefinokee Swamp”, published in The Auk, the official publication of the American Ornithological Society: “In the eastern United States few, if any, areas of equal extent afford such exceptional opportunities for the study of animal life in a primeval state as does Okefinokee Swamp.  The ‘prairies’Continue reading “Okefenokee Primeval Prairies”

Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe

A large clump of thick green leaves sits high in otherwise bare tree. The thick glossy leaves growing are completely unlike the normal foliage furled out by that tree in the spring. This makes Mistletoe easy to spot, especially in the winter. Its parasitic nature – stealing water and nutrients from its host – isContinue reading “Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe”