Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 14 - November 17th - Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Uh, roger that.

Spent a good part of today looking for gators.  I don’t say that very often. 

I staked out Alligator Pond from the comfort (and safety) of the GDB.  Sadly, I didn’t see a single large reptile.    

The sun showed up!

After breakfast I took the pretty drive to the Refuge’s Visitors’ Center. 
They had some interesting exhibits.  This was my favorite. 

It gives the perspective of being underwater looking up at a big ole alligator belly.  And lots of other flora and fauna further down the food chain. 

This refuge encompasses a massive piece of land at over 400,000 acres.  I’ve not seen a habitat like it before.  It’s not really a swamp but more a “liquid prairie”.  Land of the Trembling Earth, as it's known.  If you ever find yourself questioning the diversity and tenacity of life on our planet, come see.  It’s a complex eco-system, and all about adaptation and survival.

Next, I followed Judy’s trail to the Cane Boil at the Chesser Island Homestead.  This is a restored homestead that gives a glimpse into the life of swamp people.  (I’m sure there is another name for folks who inhabited this area, but you get the idea). 

The home has a traditional syrup shed that was put to good use today.  The process is pretty simple, really. 

The cane gets crushed

It's so easy a little girl, a horse, and two government employees can do it!

The extracted syrup then goes in a large vat and is heated by a wood fire until it’s a big bubbly cauldron.  After a few hours, the process of evaporation leaves you with just syrup. 

We got to sample some of the cane syrup on biscuits.  Sorry no photos - it all happened so fast!  

There was a bluegrass band

playing that haunting tune There Is A Time For Us To Wander.   Here's some audio. 

Then the 4th generation Chesser ladies broke into song.  They had impressive harmony!

Built in the 1920's, the interior of the house is evocative of that era. 

It reminded me so much of homes I was in as a kid in North Alabama. In fact, it smelled like my grandmother’s house. 
By now I was in the mood for some veggies and the Okefenokee Restaurant in Folkston serves them up southern/buffet-style. 

Not my first trip to the buffet line

Really hit the spot!  I wish I had the recipe for that broccoli salad. 

About 3 PM I returned to my campsite and just relaxed.  Sometimes that’s the best part, isn’t it? 

There is a meteor shower in the wee hours of the AM, the moon is crescent, and there is no light pollution here.  (It’s 7 miles to little Folkston, the nearest town).  However, I fear the cloud cover that moved in this afternoon will preclude any viewing.  But maybe some of you can see the show?    

I start the journey home tomorrow and, while I can’t wait to see my family, I dread putting the GDB in dry dock even though it’s only for about 5 weeks. 

Have I mentioned that I love it?  

So long from Okefenokee Pastimes Campground




  1. I found your blog a few days ago and it looks like you are having a wonderful time in your new (to you) GDB. Can't wait to see the adventures in your future travels on your blog.

    I would also be very interested in the teaching online experience and information about teaching online. Sounds very interesting.

    Travel safe!

    1. Hi ArkTravelers,

      Welcome to the blog! Anything in particular you want to know about online teaching?

      If you just have a general interest about how it all works, I'll let you know when I found out. LOL!

      Anyway, stay tuned .... that process will be very much a part of this chronicle going forward.

  2. So glad you are enjoying your new rig....we sold one of our vintage trailers to a woman from Maine...she was going to teach on line in the Midwest

  3. What a wonderful day. Personally I don't like the "don't feed the gators" signs -- I'm always afraid the dogs are going to take off after one. I love places like that where you can see what life it like in different eras and places. I'm looking forward to some of that in 2013. Have you heard any more about the online teaching? My former student and friend Mike retired from his hospital nursing job to teach online classes. He's teaching nursing courses for Grand Canyon U and for ITT. He loves it! He's in CT and has been skiing at Sugarloaf for years. Now he and his significant other can spend the entire winter in their condo there. He loves online teaching, as do I and so will you! It's slow going building up to enough classes but hang in there - it will happen. There are lots of nursing teaching positions these days.

    1. I had that interview a couple of weeks ago and have provided some follow-up documentation so I hope to get an offer of employment soon. I never heard from Grand Canyon U, unfortunately. Yes - qualified nursing instructors are in demand as are qualified nurses! Thanks for the words of encouragement.


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