After my father passed away in late 2016, and after spending two months flying around speaking at RV shows, I needed some nature time. Our RV was parked in Linda's sister's yard in Jacksonville, Florida and Linda was helping with projects, so she suggested I do an overnight trip in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, a place we have enjoyed in the past.
So, I drove from Jacksonville up to the 400,000 acres of wilderness that is the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
From the main road near Fargo, GA, it's seventeen miles into the refuge ....
and eventually to the Stephen C. Foster State Park at the end of the road.
I went to the park office, ....
paid for a campsite and some firewood, and chose one of the available tent sites. In the Georgia State Parks, even if you reserve a site in advance, you can only reserve a spot - a guarantee you have a spot - but not a particular campsite.
I selected, of course, the most private site available and set up the tent.
Once I was settled, I walked back down to the office and the boat basin where I took a few photos.
This is the tour boat they take out for their various guided motorboat tours.
Guided paddling tours are also offered.
This is the reason pets are prohibited in all watercraft.
There are estimated to be over 12,000 gators in the Okefenokee, and they can be quite bold if they see a small animal as a potential meal.
I then walked the short Trembling Earth Nature Trail. Okefenokee translates to "land of the trembling earth".
Most of the trail is on a nice boardwalk ....
but the water level is up, and part of it was submerged.
After my walk, I headed back to the campground. I cooked some dinner and started a campfire. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were awful in the campground. After a shower at the bathhouse, I crawled into my tent to escape the bugs. I had my Kindle, so I read myself to sleep in the quiet.
When I woke in the middle of the night, I could hear the critters in the bushes around my tent. I'm pretty sure they were all raccoons, but I never could get my flashlight on them. Soon, I was falling back to sleep to the sounds of nature and looking forward to getting out on the water in the morning.
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