Hundreds of alligators, carnivorous plants, shallow water, rain, sun—nothing would stop the Creation Museum swampers in the Okefenokee swamp of southern Georgia! The brave teams paddled a total of 42 miles through cypress forests, prairies, canals, and more.
Buddy Davis and Perry McDorman led two groups on this swamp trip. The first group, hailing from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah, came for the “land-based” part of the trip.
We jump-started the adventure with a paddling trip into the swamp the first night. This made a few of the rookies nervous at first, but everyone had a great time in the end! We saw many alligators in the dark with their eyes glowing red in the beams of our flashlights, so that was exciting. We proved that although alligators are night hunters, humans are not on the menu!
We were glad to have two young boys on the trip who added a lot of excitement with their enthusiasm and great attitudes. We camped at nearby campgrounds, explored the wildlife drive, took an awesome motorboat tour, and paddled eight miles on the last full day.
Over the three days, we experienced three of the five entrances to the swamp, exploring the north, east, and west areas of the over 400,000-acre national wildlife refuge. It was a quick but in-depth overview of the habitats, plants, wildlife, and scenery of the Okefenokee.
The water was low in the swamp, and several people canceled from the wilderness trip because we were unable to reserve the canoe trail we first wanted. So the once-full trip ended up being a small group of 4 guests from Colorado and Michigan. We had a fantastic time with this group as well.
We went to many of the same places with them, but each time is unique because you never know what wildlife will show up on any given day. For example, the second time we went to the observation tower on the wildlife drive, a swallowtail kite sailed overhead, circling right above the tower in full view many times, giving everyone ample opportunity to see how this graceful bird got its name.
This daring group ventured away from the security of vehicles, convenience stores, running water, and other modern luxuries to spend a night in the swamp on a wooden platform above the water. Our first day of paddling was pretty wet. It rained on us for about an hour and a half! But after that the sun came out, and by the time we finished our 8-mile journey and arrived at the shelter, we were dry.
We enjoyed watching the wading birds—herons, sandhill cranes, egrets, and more—fly in huge flocks to their roosting spots around sunset. We were serenaded all night by pig frogs and cricket frogs, and we awoke early to take down our tents, load our canoes, and paddle back to civilization. The unique experience was well worth the work of paddling a total of 16 miles, even though shallow water made paddling difficult some of the time!
We all enjoyed making new friends in Christ and observing some of the wonders of God’s creation in a very special part of the world. We saw amazing wildlife and scenery and were blessed with safety and overall good weather.