Thursday, May 5, 2011

It’s a Swamp Thang!

Yes, I meant to say thang. Following our glorious graduation celebration lunch, we packed a few things in the car from the graduate’s apartment and pointed the car north west. It was approximately 4:20 p.m. We could probably make it home, it’s not too bad of a drive. About 45 minutes outside of Jacksonville, I felt my eyes getting a bit heavy.

Me: Do you mind driving for a few minutes? If I can get a little nap in I can make it the rest of the way.
Him: Sure. Just pull over.
Me: Okay. I will pull off at the next exit.

There it was. The Macclenny exit. As I am getting ready to pull in to some local establishment, HE sees it. A sign. A sign for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge also known as The Okefenokee Swamp.

Him: Hey look…. the Okefenokee. Can we go, pleeeease, can we go???? I’ve never been there. I’ve always wanted to go, ever since I was a little.
Pause: Let me clarify something. He grew up in Nevada. He did not even know the Okefenokee Swamp even existed when he was little and this is what he ALWAYS says when he wants to go somewhere he hasn’t been.
Me: Okay. Fine. I don’t care. Let’s check it out.
Now, I really didn’t care, even though I was rolling my eyes and thinking, golly gee whiz! But I love him dearly and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet!
Him: Oh boy! (or something similar to show his great enthusiasm)

We arrived about 5:55ish. The person taking the entrance fee said the driving area closed at 7:00 and we only had a few minutes to enter, but (isn’t there always a but) that their Sunset Boat Cruise would be leaving at 6:45 and returning at 9:00. A what? A boat cruise? On a swamp? You’ve got to be kidding.

So, we signed up for it. We had a few minutes before departure, so we took the little driving tour then readied ourselves for the boat tour. I really didn’t know what to expect, but let me tell you, it was FANTASTIC! Probably one of the most entertaining adventures we’ve taken.

















There were 11 of us, counting our guide. We headed out and traveled along the historic Suwannee Canal which was lined on each side with pine and cypress trees, lily pads, small shrubs and cypress knees. Our final destination was the Chesser Prairie, where we would watch the sunset. Our guide was awesome and very informative. His roots go back 4 generations and he was very familiar with the Okefenokee and surrounding areas.



































Along the way, we had a few critter sightings…….















When we arrived at the Prairie we were greeted by these fellows…..








After parking the boat up on a mud flat we just sat. Sat in the quiet. Listening to an owl and hawk in the distance. Looking for alligators and watching the sunset. The sunset? Well, just have a look!








It was peaceful. It was serene. And worth ever penny. Then we drove back. In the dark.









What I don’t have in pictures is the “alligator-eyes hunting.” We didn’t have any boat lights, but we did have a few flashlights and some with high power beams. It was so much fun scanning the water for those glowing alligator eyes. I felt like I could have been on an episode of Swamp People. Now if you haven’t seen an episode of this show, you need to have a peek. Even if it’s just for one episode. I know for certain, that you will watch it to the end. There are not any words to describe it, so just watch.

What a grand adventure we had! I would definitely take this tour again. I would also like to have more time to trek through some of the woods surrounding the Okefenokee. If you want to see more Swamp pictures, just click here.

Needless to say, we did not make it home that evening. We stopped over in Waycross, Georgia, slept in on Sunday and arrived home Sunday afternoon.

And next time my sweet husband says, can we go, pleeeease, can we go, I won’t roll my eyes.

Because I just can’t get enough of my little bobble-headed graduate, here is today’s parting shot.


1 comment:

Amy Arnaz said...

My husband usually NEVER stops along the way for sight-seeing when we travel. He will stop when we go through the Redwoods, thank goodness. I'm going to try your husband's line next time: "Oh.. pleeeeze....
I've wanted to go there since I was a little girl." Looks like your trip through the swamp was a wonderful adventure. I especially love the photos of trees reflecting upside-down on the calm surface of water. Just lovely.