Saturday, August 1, 2015


I get nervous when I lose sight of the mountains.  Something about the overgrown, flat, expansive terrain of the Deep South causes me to lose my bearings and bring my guard up.  

    It's a totally different world.  Last November, as I traveled south on the second leg of my East Coast Adventure, I traded blazing maples and conifers for Spanish moss and cypress trees.  As I grew closer and closer to my destination, deep in the heart of Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, the change was evident.

    That night I laid down my head on firm ground, mere feet from the swamp, but it resonated with the cuckoos and whistles of birds, foxes, and amphibians.  The distinct drone of dread emitted by spiraling mosquitoes hung in the background, and foraging gray squirrels rustled the palmettos above my tent.  Deer wandered close, but kept their distance.

    As the sun set, the temperature dropped.  November in south Georgia is comfortable--comparable to perhaps September in Virginia.  No rain or dew threatened, so I forsook my tent's fly for the first time since I left home on Labor Day.  The moon was bright; and I drifted off to sleep watching embers from a dying campfire drift across its face.

Created with flickr slideshow.

    Morning came early.  I had to reach Fort Myers, Florida by nightfall, but wasn't leaving without exploring the swamp from my kayak.

    I broke water at 6:00 AM.  The swamp was asleep, but slowly awakening under a fiery sunrise.  The creatures I encountered before takeout were foreign--toothed and armored.  Such diversity we have in this country.  Such beautiful ecological diversity.

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