17 November 2007

Prairies of the Okefenokee

After two days of paddling the Swamp, we ended our trip fairly exhausted but we had to check out the 50 foot observation platform overlooking Chesser Prairie before leaving. On Chesser Island you can visit the historic Chesser Homestead which offers a chance to see what swamp life must have been like during the 1800s. After hiking around the homestead we headed to the Swamp Walk Boardwalk which is just a short trail that takes you out to the observation deck. Last year we saw a Barred Owl sitting just off of the boardwalk. This year, we could hear them off in the distance.

We found some Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor, doing its job breaking down this old stump right off the boardwalk. Hewy, the South Georgia Naturalist, knew what it was but I am out of my league when it comes to mushrooms. I really want to improve my fungus ID skills.

There was also scat everywhere you walked. This scat I believe belongs to a Coyote due to the long tapered ends.

The Chesser Prairie was fairly quiet but we did manage to find 3 Sandhill Cranes making a little noise and jumping about. I love how peaceful this place is and it's hard to imagine what life must have been like living on the edge of the Swamp 200 years ago. Black bears, alligators, panthers, and otters were probably frequent visitors to their close surroundings.

Living in South Florida has caused me to really miss the season changes. This week we are finally getting some cool weather (lows in the upper 50s). But we don't have the fall colors that are typical of other places I have lived. I loved the color of the Bald Cypress trees in the afternoon with their leaves of gold, orange, green, and brown.

By the end of the trip, Mo was done. She rested on the bench while Kelly and Hewy took one last view of the prairie. It was another successful invasion of the Okefenokee. I'll be back and hopefully, so will my friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like you, my family and I enjoyed a visit to the Chesser Prairie. We visited right after a thunderstorm and got caught in one of the side squalls. We saw gators, a sandhill crane, and various wading birds, but seeing the swamp after a storm was the moving experience. I put pix and a few lines at the Sierra Club site: http://www.sierraclub.org/specialplace/yourplaces/georgia_chesser_prairie.asp.
Bill Dockery