Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Sunshine brings out the gators

Stephen Foster State Park Site 64
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Fargo, Georgia

It FINALLY rained last night after being predicted all day long. I hope that means their  months of drought are over. We waited for it to warm up a bit before going back out to get in the swamp and do the other end of Billy’s lake.  Again we went out and down the canal

following this cute little duckie.  Not sure of his proper name so if any of my astute followers (HeyDuke?) can tell from this not so great picture, could you comment on it?

Notice the reflection of the red sign here and how close duckie is to it ........... 

and notice it here in this next picture.
We got to the lake and look who has pulled in right along side me and behind Duckie? 

Look out Duckie!!!! I yell, he does nothing,  I slap the water with my paddle not really wanting one of those Wild Kingdom moments at the beginning of my day.  Neither of them do anything.   And then just as Allie picks up speed, duckie gets the hint and starts running across the water to get into the air.   WHEW……..a nerve wracking moment but all is well.  Allie will have to get breakfast later on.  I do feel a little bit bad about that given how many alligators there are now all in one place competing for food. 

As we paddled on down the lake we saw alligators everywhere.  All hanging out looking around.

The sun was shining and it was a perfect day for paddling.  The swamp waters were still moving slowly and the reflections again were striking.

The lake is wide in the middle with tapering ends.  Today we were off to the western end.

Paddling by water lilies along the banks I saw that nearly all had hidden gators in them.  I wondered where the food came from for all these top the food chain predators in this time of drought.  I guess all the prey are also being forced into the lake due to low water.

Cypress and Lilies were the dominant scene on our slow leisurely paddle.

And eyes carefully watching...........

Gators, gators, everywhere............

There seemed always to be a gator or two swimming back and forth across the lake as we paddled.  Often only eyes and a nose to give them away.

And then we came upon this one half asleep, judging by his droopy eyes, and clearly just recently fed.  Take a look at his neck which is so full it is up under his jaw. 

I passed only a few turtles, I think this is a yellow slider.  Perhaps they are gator food and wary.  I'm not sure.

In this picture all of those black lines raised in the water are alligators swimming across the lake.  At one point we counted 14 ahead of us.  At some distance of course :-)

It was back to blue skies and lovely clouds after the gray day and welcome rains of yesterday.

This fellow was crossing the river fairly close to me and apparently didn't see me at first.

But when he did, he slowly and imperceptably lowered his back further into the water.

And then he just as cleverly sunk down to his eyes but kept them on me. 
I kept mine on him too.

David was pointing out gators right and left

This little fellow really looked like he was smiling at us.

We caught this one snuggled up and napping.  Check out those hands and feet and his colors and patterns.  Each gator was slightly different.  Another of nature's amazing designs.  I thought this picture with its fabulous relfection was the pic of the day!

As we reached the western end of the lake things began to narrow and this little opportunistic flower caught my eye.  He'd found himself a spot in the middle of the river and was blooming his heart out.

We had so many wonderful pictures (294 actually) that I'm going to divide this day into 2 entries so here's the final shot.  These are the roots of the yellow water lilies but they made me look twice many times since they look to me like the ridged back of a lounging gator.   Do they look that way to you?

Come back for part II as we get to The Narrows and the campsite for those who do kayak camping.  See you there!

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