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After seeing the Okefenokee swamp on a dreary, rainy day, going back on Sunday in the bright sunshine was actually quite different. Oh there’s still the same wildlife, but everything just seems a little less foreboding, and having other folks out canoeing and enjoying the refuge area changes the atmosphere tremendously.
We chose to take the 90 minute guided tour as opposed to rowing ourselves around, from Okefenokee Adventures. They have all kinds of ways for you to explore the swamp, from renting canoes or kayaks to multiple day tours on the swamp! Our guide’s family had lived in the area for 7 generations and he knew all about the wildlife and the plant life, which would take an entire lifetime to become aware of, honestly, there are so many different species of animal and plants in the swamp!
Naturally, we came across a few gators during the trip.
What I love about that photo is that you can see just how black the water is. Look at the gators body, at the point where it goes from being out of the water, to under the water. You can’t see a thing! This is why they say for every gator or snake you see, there are 10 you don’t. You cannot see anything that is under the water here.
Of course, the hawks are really just as impressive when you get to really watch them do their thing out here too.
All in all, the tour was fun, educational and a great way to wrap up our time in Okefenokee before heading home!
Aside from a run-in with a snake, this state park, which is located very close to Waycross, GA, and basically across the street from the northern entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp (which is NOT the wildlife refuge, but the commercial part of the park, which has it’s own attractions, albeit of a different nature), was a lovely way to wrap up our Saturday.
First we hit the nature trail, which started out in among the long pines.
It then continued along some swampy areas, and Mirror Pond.
I’m guessing you can tell where the name Mirror Pond came from, no? 😉
After that hike, and the long day we had already had, not to mention the bug bites, (Oh good lord the bug bites! Even with bug repellant on I got chewed up pretty good in the swamp.), it was nice to just stop and watch the late afternoon sun over the lake.
The sunny late afternoon was a nice change from the rain earlier in the day and a precursor to what we were going to get on our return to Okefenokee for our boat ride. More on that in a future post!
They got out of the car to get a better view of the alligator, but the man unknowingly had stepped on a water moccasin that was on the side of the road.
In Okefenokee, they were quick to point out that for every gator you see, there are 10 you don’t see. I started thinking about how, if you remain completely focused on the one you see, trying to get the best photo of it, those 10 you don’t see might present a bit of a problem, let alone the snakes. The snake in the photo above was actually just underfoot as we walked along a trail. I heard it rustling in the debris before I ever saw it, and I suspect it was actually in the path, scurrying to get away from us when I heard it.
Today, when I saw this story, that was what came to mind. Capturing a photo of wildlife can be pretty exciting, but when you’re out there in their habitat, you probably want to pay attention to what’s going on around you too. You never know what else you might not see.
Then again, this advice goes double when traveling as well. Tourists with cameras who are trying to get the perfect photo are easy targets for criminals as well, because they aren’t paying attention to the other people around them. I’ve seen lots of people at tourist sites being careless with their stuff while getting a photo.
Be careful out there!