Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Swamps in Ten Days

Having just returned from the Everglades, we went with friends to the Okefenokee. It was the first time for B and me to see either of these places. We could drive up there to Waycross and see the swamp in the Okefenokee Park and return all in one day and yet we had never been. This is a private, non-profit park on the National Wildlife land.

We took the one-hour boat ride. The Carolina Skiff felt very stable and wide through the sometimes very narrow canals. Our guide was extremely skilled in steering.


It was a cool-ish morning and the bugs were not a problem.

A couple of years ago, an enormous wild fire raged back and forth through the swamp, shifting directions with the wind. The devastation is still quite evident. The scene below was once a dark cypress forest. 


The scrub is coming back.


A long section of the boardwalk was also lost to the fire.102_0981

The fetterbushes (Lyonia lucida) were in full bloom and their perfume was heavy in the air. I described it as a buttery sweetness. These plants were growing in the water.


Our guide was wonderful and so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna he took us past. He told us about the floating islands created by decomposing vegetation in the swamp. The swamp has been called the “land of the trembling earth.” This is because, these islands may appear solid until one might attempt to stand on them.

After lunch, we took a narrow gauge train for a fun and breezy 45 minute ride. 102_0957

The Okefenokee is the source of the Suwannee River.

More posts about the park in the coming days.

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