I am covered in the itchiest bug bites ever.
Somewhere on the Okefenokee site, I read that mosquitoes are never a problem during the day, but that deer flies can sometimes be aggressive. I swatted a few of what I figured must’ve been deer flies off the backs of my calves and never saw a mosquito, though things were buzzing around my head all day. This morning I woke up scratching, and the red welts on my arms and legs and neck have gotten worse all day. I’m guessing deer-fly bites don’t agree with me. I think they will itch for a week.
All worth it, though. What a beautiful place. I’ve been wanting to visit for a few years now and am glad I had the opportunity. I meant to spend and hour or two but was there about three and a half hours. Took the east entrance from Folkston and decided to do the “swamp drive” (like a NPS rim drive) and a few walks instead of getting into a boat. I’ll save that for when I have the kids with me.
At least I didn’t get bitten by one of these freaky things. They are called golden-silk spiders, and they were mostly smart enough to build their very strong webs above human heads. Some webs were very high — up in the tops of the cypress. They have this freaky white face painted on them: white with black eyes and grimacing mouth, very Jason.
After wandering into my first web, the whole Okefenokee experience got a little creepy. I was by myself, and saw only one other family the whole day. Walking along, I’d hear a rustling and stop to listen, but the sound would stop, too. I heard all sorts of things scuttling and rattling and scurrying, but I never saw them. What would I do if a bear walked into the path? or a rabid raccoon came after the apple in my backpack? But mostly I just saw lots of butterflies and great huge birds.
At the end of the swamp walk, a tower lets you get a n amazing 360 view from the cypresses to the prairie. All sorts of beautiful big birds out there.
Okefenokee wasn’t what I expected — much more solid ground than Congaree Swamp in Columbia, with it’s huge champion pines and massive cypress. Okefenokee means “Land of the Trembling Earth.” When you walk even out in the pine forests, the ground gives, seems a little soft. Your foot makes a sort of “thump” it doesn’t on solid ground.
Here are some pics. Please pardon the big smudge on my lens. Time for a new camera.
I have one big issue … I confess I can’t tell slash from longleaf. Can anyone help me with this?