Sunny Day at Okefenokee

Sunny Sunday Morning Boat Ride

posted in: Nature, Travel 5

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.

Sunning in the same place we saw him yesterday.

Heading down the Canal

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.

Sunning

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.

Flying Over the Canoes

Red Sholdered Hawk aGainst the Bright Sky

All in all, the tour was fun, educational and a great way to wrap up our time in Okefenokee before heading home!

Swamp Trees in early Spring

Going Down the Suawnee Canal

Raindrops on branches B/W

A Rainy Morning in Okefenokee

posted in: Landscape, Nature, Travel 6

The rain that we encountered on Friday afternoon and evening, was predicted to stay for most of Saturday as well, but since it appeared that there might be some breaks between the bands of thunderstorms, we headed to Okefenokee anyway.

I’m glad we did. As our tour guide on Sunday would tell us, this is a National Wildlife Refuge, not to be mistaken with a park. What that means is that it is here for the wildlife, it is their environment and you are just visiting. Now, he told us that as a way to temper down expectations, because he couldn’t guarantee that we’d see anything, though we did.

But, prior to that, by virtue of being in the refuge during rainstorms, we got a really good idea of just how inhospitable and wild the swamp could be. Makes me wonder why anyone decided “yup, this is where we are going to live”, but then again, I am a city kid. This does not scream “let’s go live there” to me.

Forboding

A Little Walk on the BaordwalkThen again, the rain meant we really had much of the area to ourselves, and gave us plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and the beauty of the swamp as well. In fact, as we were walking on that very boardwalk you see above, we could hear the alligators in the distance, making their rumbling vibrations in the water to warn off smaller gators. Then, as we took a pit stop during some heavy rainfall in a covered area, we heard it again, much, much closer.

Oh Hi There!

We also were able to get out of the rain for a bit at the Chesser Homestead, and learn more about the people who made this area home. For instance, we learned that the “yard” of the homestead was kept without any growth for a very good reason. Not only did it look neater, but it made it easier to see creepy crawlies and snakes that might be nearby.

Chesser Homestead Tree

Sitting on the Chesser Homestead porch

We also got very lucky, as we were driving by, we saw a heron on the side of the road, with it’s lunch, and an alligator keeping a very close eye on him hoping for his own lunch, maybe?

Food Chain

Something to Wash it down

Still Life Eyes

Of course, it didn’t rain the entire morning, we did get some views of the landscape and the wildlife without the rain before packing it in and heading to Folkston for lunch. With all the morning rain, we decided to come back in the morning, when it promised to be warm and sunny. More on those stops on future posts.

Mirrors!