Big Cypress trees in the Okefenokee

Into the Okefenokee Swamp

Cypress trees in the Okefenokee
Cypress trees in the Okefenokee

We enjoyed walking around the marina and going on the nature trail at Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge but we wanted to be in a boat to really experience the swamp. On one of our visits a few years ago we rented a canoe to paddle into the swamp and another time we rented a boat to venture even farther into the swamp. On our most recent trip in early spring we decided to take a ranger guided boat tour.

As we glided through the man made canal our guide pointed out the baby alligators and their mother Sophie who was keeping a close watch on her babies. Her mate Zeke was no where to be found.

Sophie the Mama Gator
” Sophie the Mama Gator

As the boat exited the canal we entered the big water of Billy’s Lake where we were about six miles from the headwaters of the Suwanee River. The water here gets up to six feet deep, much deeper than the average depth of two feet.

It was a beautiful day to be on the water and we saw a few other people out on the water.

It was a beautiful day for kayaking
It was a beautiful day for kayaking
A kayaker goes around the bend deeper into the swamp
A kayaker goes around the bend deeper into the swamp
Which way do we go?
Which way do we go?

Our guide took us through the narrow waterway toward Minnie’s Lake. In some places the water was barely wide enough for the 24 foot Carolina Skiff. As we ventured farther into the swamp it was as if we had stepped back in time to a prehistoric age. We were miles from civilization in this incredibly wild place.

Boats had to navigate around this cypress tree
Boats had to navigate around this cypress tree

It is estimated that the alligator population in the swamp is about 20,000. We saw quite a few as we went along. It was mating season and I wondered if this gator was trying to attract a mate.

Huge alligator showing us his teeth
Huge alligator showing us his teeth

Another gator was behind a huge cypress tree.

Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?
Do you see the alligator behind the Cypress tree?

And there were young ones sunning on a log.

Young gators enjoying the sunshine

There are many species of wildlife besides alligators. While we didn’t see any raccoons, opossums, turtles, or bears, we did see a few birds out searching for food.

Egret in the Okefenokee
Egret in the Okefenokee
Snowy Egret in the Okefenokee
Snowy Egret in the Okefenokee

After our incredible few days in the Okefenokee it was time to return back to civilization and the real world.

6 thoughts on “Into the Okefenokee Swamp”

  1. I have only one word – wow! What an amazing adventure! I do not like snakes at all so going there would freak me out but I would love seeing all of the rest of the wild life. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Love the swamp name – made me smile. Now, I love a good trek back into nature, but I applaud your bravery for going where the alligators go because that would definitely be the last place you’d find me. If you hear a clucking sound, that would be coming from me. 🙂

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    1. A lot of people have the same reaction to alligators! I’m not really so brave. I’ve never seen one do anything but lay around or swim but I try to keep my distance just in case!

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