Sunday, February 19, 2006

Craven's Hammock, February 18-19

Back to the Okefenokee! This time an 11 mile paddle to Craven's Hammock from Stephen Foster State Park. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. Here's some local color along the trail at Billy's Lake.
We all enjoyed the sunshine!

It was a pretty uneventful paddle through The Narrows to The Sill, where we stopped to stretch our legs.
Then on to the winding North Fork of the Suwannee River to Craven's Hammock,...
where we were greeted by....
These two, apparently still celebrating Valentine's Day, were parked right at the boat landing (the dark rectangle on the left is the walkway to the chemical toilet) and approximately 100 feet directly in front of the campsite. So, after some deliberation and with limited options, we beached the boats a "safe" distance away and shuttled all of our stuff...gingerly...around our new best friends up to the campsite. The larger gator, presumably the male, the one facing away from the water, took off after a few insistent "SHOO!"s and "GET!"s, but Madam was less cooperative and, at one point, hiked herself up on all fours and hissed quite commandingly, leaving no question who was in charge.

It rained overnight and was decidedly colder and overcast this morning -- more like February. The good news, though, was that Mrs. Gator had departed sometime in the night so we were able to move the boats to the landing for packing and launching. We returned to Stephen Foster about two hours quicker than it took us to paddle the same distance the day before! Back through the winding North Fork (see the little sign on the tree that says "Home"?),....

And about 3 cold grey miles down The Sill run....
All told, it was a memorable trip. I just wish it had been longer. Really.


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