John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia
I was not sure how our day was going to turn out, what with the first road names I saw. The first was Rising Daughter Road and soon after that, Burnt Fort. I kept looking for Smoking Gun Road, but no such luck. On our way to the swamp we went through Folkston Georgia. No one should go through that town without stopping to see a train pass. In this town, on an average, about 60 trains go through the town in a day. It is a funnel for all trains going down south to Florida, as well traveling north out of Florida. In Folkston there is a observation platform for train enthusiasts, and next to the platform is some picnic tables with one cooking grill. Some people must really get into train watching in this town! John and I did stop and saw one train come through, going at such a speed that a man standing next to us excitedly proclaimed " its really smoking". About eight miles outside of Folkston is the southern Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The road on which we were hoping to take through the swamp was closed, so the next best way for us to see the swamp was via a ninety minute boat trip. We did ride the boat and had a very interesting guide for our trip, an older man who calls himself a "seventh generation swamper". Alligators were out in large numbers on the sunny banks of the swamp and our guide seemed to know all about them and their habitat.
Our guide informed us that because of a drought the water level of the swamp is low, consequently the alligators are fairly concentrated in the deeper areas. What intrigued me was how camouflaged the animals and birds are in the swamp. Below is a bittern that happened to poke his beak out as we went pass. Maybe you can see him in the picture below, he is right in the middle of the grass. Enlarging the picture may help.
Not only did I get many pictures of alligators, but I also took many of the blue heron. I was able to catch a picture of one in flight, which I am very pleased with. It amazes me how they can get their big bodies up in the air!
We certainly had a beautiful fall day for our trip down the canal of the swamp. The sweet gum is quite beautiful with its bright red leaves, as well as the deciduous cypress with its orange leaves, add the Spanish moss to the mix and you have some great scenery!