Peacock

Peacock
Peacock

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wilderness Camping Trip in Okefenokee Swamp - Day One

Two of my friends and I were supposed to spend three days and two nights camping at the reservable shelters in Okefenokee Wilderness Area which is most of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.  Only Pat made it.  He got in early enough for us to eat a late lunch, pack, then eat supper.

We put in right in the boat basin near where I live and work.  I was able to borrow a tandem canoe, since I  mine needs repairing. Pat and I did a good job of getting along in the boat, while pushing it as hard as it would go - about 3.8 mph.

We had fantastic weather - highs in the 70's or higher, lows in the 50's and clear to cloudy days and rain only on the last night after midnight. The last of the showers spit on us as we were eating breakfast and packing up.

The best part of the first day was the part of the trip we did on the Day Use trail which parallels the Suwannee River Canal. Birds were active and lots of alligators were out.  We even found a large alligator family with maybe twenty babies.


Ready to leave

Kingfisher 

Perfect Day

Some of the baby alligators

Closeup of baby alligator


Good eating is down here somewhere


Field of Golden Club

Golden Club up close

After we merged into the Suwannee Canal, we saw people a few times, including when we stopped at Coffee Bay shelter to eat lunch and take a restroom break.  After that, we saw two more groups, one in an motor boat, and one in two kayaks.  They turned off  the trail to Roundtop.  We continued on to our shelter, Canal Run.

Canal Run  - out destination

Pat is famous in our paddling circles for his guacamole. As soon as we landed and unloaded the canoe, he found all the fixings and had our snack underway. 


Pat catching rays and making guacamole

Then we had to decide how to set up our tents.  We knew we would not have any rain so decided to keep them out in the open to be able to enjoy the stars after the half-moon set. 


Pat's camp - no need for tent flies. 


My camp, complete with  hammock and camp chair

After the camp was set up, we had lots of time to enjoy the view, including the slow current which carried colorful leaves by us, the birds, and a late-visiting alligator who snuck closer and closer, before hiding behind our canoe.


Chillin'


Camp visitor


To be continued............


We got back early this afternoon and now are in the midst of repacking for a colder night tomorrow night on the St. Mary's river.  We also need to research our trip more and set some way points. The river is near or at flood stage so we'll also need to know where the camps on high banks are.