Saturday, April 28, 2007

Okefenokee and Grassroot Teaching

We were as giddy as children as we neared Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge because neither of us has visited a swamp before and we couldn’t pass us a chance to visit something called Okefenokee. Since we were arriving later in the day, we were wisely informed to wait until the next morning to see the Swamp at cooler temperature. So, we set up camp by the St. Mary’s River at the Trader’s Hill Recreational Area.

As we were enjoying our pears, we hear a man call out, “Hey buddy!” We look around and see that he was talking to us. He and his wife needed help and in the process of doing so, we learned about the area surrounding the river (since they both grew up in the area) and they learned about vegetable oil powered cars. The best part of the conversation was when we told them we have only spent $175 on fuel in the past month. They reply, “No way! We spend that much in a week.”

After enjoying a dip in the clear river and sleeping under the stars, we headed to the Refuge early, as instructed by the locals. That is the best time to see the wildlife (early in the cool morning). And they were right. We watched an otter play, mom and two baby alligators swimming, three other alligators waiting for food and basking in the sun, a possum climbing through the trees, colorful birds and butterflies and numerous darting lizards.

Before breaking camp, we made sure to grab BBQ from a stand in the nearest town. The stand consisted of a trailer, a smoker and several picnic tables. We had a suspicion that their BBQ was going to be good - when we pulled up, we saw many locals taking a break for sandwiches there. We had satisfying BBQ pork and sliced beef sandwiches.

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