The Swamp


Todays blog is in two parts, first my little narrative on where we’ve been and then a Captain’s log from John.
















Soft shell turtle
Where have we been? The swamp! We stayed at Stephen C. Foster StatePark, Fargo GA. This park is in the the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge or the Okefenokee swamp. What an interesting place. We took a boat tour on the second day we were there. Ranger Mike is a good ’ole Georgia Boy all the way was our tour guide. This is the first time I have seen alligators in the wild and we saw a lot of alligators. There are two that make the boat harbor their own and as we left the harbor it really just becomes alligator city.  Besides the alligators there are all the cypress trees just dripping with Spanish moss, and there were flocks of White Ibis, blue heron and the Wood Stork. It is an amazing place. I really feel it is a place everyone should visit at some time in their life. It is so different than anywhere we have been so far.  On Thursday we read that they were having a sunset paddle into the swamp for just $10 each and that included either a canoe or kayak--sign us up! When we arrived for the paddle there were 12 college students and their professors that signed up as well. We let them have the kayaks and we took one of the canoes. They are all in an Ecology class and were studying the swamp. Its actually fun to be around kids this age, reminded me of my teaching days before this RV life. It was a beautiful night on the swamp and though it was cloudy so no great sunset, it also was calm and incredibly beautiful.  I will let the photos in todays blog do the talking on the beauty we found here in the Okefenokee swamp.
Flocks of Ibis


Little Blue Heron

Wood Stork

300 year old cypress tree

We have moved on to Seminole Lake State Park in SW Georgia and its a pretty laid back place. Only 1 other camper in the park other than the two work campers. Next week we will land in our winter home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for 3 months. Our friends Jeff and Cheryl are already there and give it rave reviews. We are looking forward to having Thanksgiving with them and also seeing my nephew, Alex, who is stationed at Hurlbert Field just 8 miles from the park. Next up the Captain’s log.......

Captain's Log: Life in the swamp

On our trip through Georgia we ended up a little south of Savanna in the Georgia state park at Skidaway Island. One of the attractions of this park is its proximity to Savanna but another is as a showcase for the surrounding marsh and wildlife. I didn't stay up late enough for the wildlife, but the marsh was neat. The park hosted a fund raiser while we were there and I learned a couple of things: they have some good local brews and marshes occur when fresh water meets salt water. The salinity of the marsh varies with the tide and many areas are either dry or flooded depending on the tide. Some people think areas like this may have been the origin of all life on the planet, but I didn't learn that at the fund raiser, I read it in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.



Another thing I learned is a marsh is not a swamp, but I didn't learn that until we moved to Stephen Foster, another of Georgia's fine state parks located in the middle of the Okefenokee swamp. If that swamp sounds familiar, you may be old because the Okefenokee was the swamp the comic strip Pogo took place in ("We have met the enemy, and they are us").  If you have no idea who Pogo is, good for you. The thing everyone knows about swamps is: that's where alligators live (if that's a surprise, go read Pogo) . I saw my first alligator waiting to go on a boat tour to see the alligators. It was pretty exciting, but I found out on the tour they're as common as squirrels around here. Anyway, swamps are fresh water wetlands with trees. And alligators. If conditions are right, a wetland will accumulate decayed vegetation in floating mats called peat until the stuff is dense enough to support cypress trees and then it's a swamp. The peat can be firm enough to support plants but still move when you walk on it, like a water bed (okefenokee means "trembling earth"). In addition to the alligators, an amazing number of creatures live in the swamp, or visit here on their way to somewhere else, like us.

Happy Trails....................

Comments

  1. Fascinating information about the Okefenokee. Glad you got to see your first alligator there. What a great place to see them. Gorgeous photos!

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  2. The uniqueness of this area is why I volunteered there at Okefenokee NWR last winter. A cool place to visit.

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  3. Love the Okefenokee. Have paddled many multi-day cross-swamp trips there. So glad you got to enjoy its magic.

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  4. Pretty cool to do a float trip in the swamp. Lots of wildlife!

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  5. This place looks very inviting, with all the vegetation and birds. We would much rather be in the swamp than the concrete jungle at Amazon. ;)

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  6. We have been working on visiting as many GA SPs as possible, so this one will go on the list.

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  7. Marsh? Swamp? Never knew there was a difference. Great blog and wonderful pictures.

    I still can't believe there are so many alligators around. I doubt I'd ever get in a canoe or a kayak in those waters. I'd be gator-bait.

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