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”

Guardian Mother Gator

Thursday, 2:20 PM – Trying not to disturb the exhilarating, tense moment, I whispered to my daughter Amanda in a low voice, “Momma gator has to be here somewhere.” Sure enough, in the midst of the dozen or more colorful babies, her eyes peered at us attentively from between the abundant swamp vegetation; her bodyContinue reading “Guardian Mother Gator”

A Place of Memories

A passage from my Okefenokee journal on Mixon’s Hammock, March 5, 2017: After tensely navigating through over a mile of the Narrows, the scene expanded forth into a beautiful prairie. A juvenile alligator and a pair of Ibises welcomed us into the opened, bright sky. Yet again, I missed a photo of a colorful maleContinue reading “A Place of Memories”

Okefenokee Trolling Motor

In 2017 I added an electric trolling motor to our canoe, my daughter acting as captain of our vessel. Not only does the motor mean relaxed travels with little rowing, but it allows hands-free for photography. In addition, our patrols of the shores of Billy’s Lake to spot the large alligators basking are much quicker.Continue reading “Okefenokee Trolling Motor”

Okefenokee Photography Practice Run

In 2017, I brought along a new “toy” to the Okefenokee: a Sigma 150-600mm lens. I soon realized that the first day of that trip was going to be a photography practice run! Saturday, March 4, 2017 – As the sun was setting, groups of Little Blue Herons, which seemed more abundant than on ourContinue reading “Okefenokee Photography Practice Run”

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!”

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”

The Okefenokee Swamp – Morning on Billy’s Lake

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – After a breakfast of freeze-dried biscuits and gravy, we loaded the cooler and our packs for a full day of paddling. We were going to press further up the Suwanee River than on our guided tour, perhaps 10 miles up closer to the heart of the swamp. Coming upon Billy’sContinue reading “The Okefenokee Swamp – Morning on Billy’s Lake”

Birding the Okefenokee: Pileated Woodpecker

A loud call breaks the warm, still afternoon air. “Are there monkeys in the Okefenokee Swamp?”, my young daughter asks. “No. That’s a bird”, I tell her. “Watch over there.” In a moment, a flaming red crest appears from behind the trunk of the tree, peering in our direction as it searches another soft spotContinue reading “Birding the Okefenokee: Pileated Woodpecker”

Okefenokee, give us a sign!

After miles of seemingly endless, boring driving through pine flat-woods, one hopes for a sign from heaven that the swamp is nearing. And that first “sign” is literally a large, wooden sign marking the entrance to the refuge! The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a “refuge and breeding ground for migratoryContinue reading “Okefenokee, give us a sign!”