Solo Swamping

Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
2 days in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Reserve. Overnighted one night at Floyd's Island and entered from Stephen Foster State Park. Both areas are incredible camping spots. The State Park was virtually empty despite being Spring Break. It probably helped that the weather was cool. Nights in the 40's and winds started while I was in the State Park and continued during my short trip. Those winds were forming the storm that walloped eastern MD and New Brunswick..the latter with a blizzard.

Except for wide open Billys Lake the route is well protected from the wind. I paddled about 20 miles in two days

First through an old growth cypress forest.





Little Blue and Great White Herons were the birdlife most spotted. Several small varieties of songbirds were about but they are hard to get a picture of.





I always wonder how gators manage to climb up on logs. This one seems to be a ten footer. I saw very few gators cause the weather was cool.






Waterplant.. Think but am not sure its spatterdock






Getting off the red trail onto the spur Green Trail for Floyds Island. Sign needs a little maintenance







Down the ever narrowing channel.




This was the channel where things got antsy with the gator.. but narrower


Arriving at Floyds.





I never expected a four room cabin that is open to campers! It was supposed to rain so I pitched my tent inside one of the rooms..just in case resident mice got loose at night.





An old letter dated nearly 40 years ago is hung on the wall.. House Rules. The cabin is spotless.



There is a portage trail across the island to the other side which connects to a waterway to Canal Run Campsite. Unfortunately that campsite is not accessible. There have been some heavy blowdowns in the Okefenokee Swamp and several routes are blocked. Its also a fire ecosystem and there is just alot of stuff down. It certainly is not dank and dismal..

The portage trail



Perhaps in lower water a bit of a quagmire. Okefenokee means" trembling ground". My trip found very high water. The cautions about sinking in peat did not apply to me. Its best to wear your PFD here however. Sinking ooze is as bad as being in the water.

Next morning a backtrack to Stephen Foster State Park..

Things look different going the other direction








In my old age I don't mind returning the way I came. I am practicing my noticing skills... not my mileage skills.
 
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Gosh, that's such a beautiful and interesting place! No dark and dismal days there! I've never seen a small blue heron before; an incredible colourful bird. I really like that cabin, and the scout letter posted there. Seems a nice place to camp for a day or two. I guess you need to carry in all fresh water? Are camp fires permitted? I totally agree about one way scenery; it's hardly a burden to bear, to admire beauty from more than one perspective. Thanks for that trip Yellowcanoe.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
It's advised to carry in water. The sediment in the water is supposed to quickly clog filters. I just carried in some water. Campfires are permitted there but not usually on other sites in the Okefenokee since most of the other sites are on wooden platforms above water or ick..
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
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Hi Yellow Canoe, Glad you made it back safe, your photos are beautiful, I guess I imagined a place a whole lot more closed in and dark. I do have a question; in that last photo, up in the tree tops, against the brightest part of the sky, what are those rectangular things hanging down? Could they be bats?

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Location
Schenectady, NY
YC,

Great photos and descriptions, looks like I need to add that on the list for MDB and me. Is that cabin a first come first served sort of thing, or did you need to reserve? And other swamp camping, permits required? And I'm guessing that around now might be the best time of year to go?
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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After a day of educational babble at a workshop, all I can say is VNTA! Very Nice Totally Awesome!
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Location
Appleton, Maine
Great trip report, beautiful pictures, but the swamp back behind your canoe in the picture "arriving at Floyd's" gives me the heebee geebee's as does that tunnel you paddled down.

Do your family see these pictures. Cripes, that place scares me, it's beautiful and amazing, but so far down my bucket list....gators, probably snakes in the trees, big spiders. Give me anything above Interstate 84.

Thanks for sharing something really different.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Lots of Spanish Moss. This greyish green stuff



If there were bats I didn't notice. And I usually do notice as my home woods in Maine are full of bats.

Yes you need a Permit from the Park guys. Here is a link to all that information

https://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/WildernessCanoeing.html

The really neat thing is that you ARE allowed to solo and there is a limit to ONE party per campsite. Ergo.. there is no competition! And it was ALL mine!
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
YC,
Thanks for the link and the inspiration! I'm really intrigued. I generally prefer to stay up north when it's cold, but this gives me reason to compromise with MDB and head south one of these winters.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
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central NYS - 10 miles from the Baseball Hall of F
YC - Did you hear any mice rustling around throughout the night? I've been lucky enough to get to Floyd's Island twice now but we've had nice nights so we've camped outside. The array of mouse poop just didn't look appealing; although we did hang our food bags from the rafters to keep it away from the resident raccoons!

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
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Location
Raymond, ME
It was threatening rain so I camped inside. In the tent which was in a room.. Minus the fly of course.. I don't like middle of the night mousees in my facee.
 
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