Canoeing the Okefenokee

March 13, 2007

I attended an annual Association for Symbolic Logic meeting at the University of Florida in March of ‘07, and my wife Wendy and I decided to drive since Radford to Gainesville is only about 600 miles. It is a drive, though, that takes you right past the Okefenokee, and as a lifelong Pogo devotee I couldn't let the opportunity slip. It was early March, but the swamp was exquisite. We rented a canoe and headed out into the waterways. “Gosh,” I thought, “I hope we spot an alligator….”

the first alligator

Hey, wish granted! What a beautiful animal.

another alligator

Oh, wow, another one.

another another alligator

And another one! Hunting turtle, seemingly. No, no! It's just Albert and Churchy la Femme!

tourist boat

Tourists. Humph.

lurking alligator

Glorious. And check out the lilies! If you look closely, you can see the buds coming up.


If you look really closely, you can see the alligator drifting lazily towards you. Uh, let's back out into the middle again….

alligator coming towards us

Nice and easy. (Nervous laughter.) That was exciting, wasn't it dear?

alligator following us

Yeah, he's still following us….

great blue heron

Oh, maybe he's after the Great Blue Heron. What a magnificent bird.

alligator with lily on its nose

This looks exactly like an early drawing of Albert the Alligator by Walt Kelly.

swamp tree stump with reflection

Wait, gotta take a picture of that. Apparently the swamp recycles old tree stumps as planters.

lily buds

We wished that we could be back when these were in full bloom.

alligators approaching

Hoo-kay, stay away from the banks.

alligator close

Seems to be keeping its distance.

two more alligators

Oh, they're on that side too.

alligators yet closer

And coming closer.

alligator very close

And closer. Wouldn't it be funny if we panicked and tipped the canoe right now? Honey?

alligator on the shore

Is it me, or do they look like they're planning something? I suddenly feel like a kid on a junior-high playground who looks around and realizes none of his friends are there.

coming back to the canoe dock

Whew. Yeah, time for a beer.

Wendy getting out of the canoe

I had just said, "Let's do this again!"

warning sign about swimming or wading in the swamp

The sign wasn't howlingly funny on the way in. I now grok the old chestnut, "It isn't the wild unless there's something that can eat you." I highly recommend this experience.