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"Murphy was an optimist!"

I slept with alligators. March 20, 2008 1:14 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Family, Noah, Of Being Dad, Of Interest, Scouts, Tommy
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I have made a commitment to my children, the Boy Scouts of America, and myself to get out in the wilderness periodically. Often these are weekend trips. Occasionally these are longer. Noah, Tommy, and myself, along with fifteen other people, just spent 5 days in the Okefenokee Swamp. We camped on Mixons Hammock. We canoed upstream into strong head winds for 3 miles to Billys Island to see the ghost town (complete with a school, church, theater and more) where 600-800 people lived while the swamp was logged from 1909 to 1927. Billy’s Island showed the most evidence of the fire that began on May 5, 2007. We also canoed The Narrows to see the head waters of the Suwannee River. (see the canoe map of Okefenokee Swamp).

Tommy floats toward an alligator.

The mosquitoes were horrible. Noah came within 2 feet of absentmindedly stepping on an alligator as he ran toward his friends yelling, "whatcha lookin’ at?" The raccoons were bold coming within 10 feet of people. A snake visited the camp and decided to nap under Tommy’s tent. We saw alligators, vultures, woodpeckers, red tailed hawks, frogs, frogs, and more frogs, lizards, snake, raccoons, turtles, fire ants, red ants, a mouse (canoed down the Narrows with us), and plenty of mosquitoes. Meals were delicious. The company was excellent with stories and guffaws. Burn cream was administered for bare feet near the fire and sunburn on the skin. Cuts were mended and headaches treated. Overall, no one sustained any substantial injury. I think everyone had a great time. This was my second year in the Okefenokee. I look forward to more!

Now I have to compress 3 work days worth of work as well as administrative duties into a single afternoon. It was worth it!

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1. Barry - March 20, 2008

I have to say with all relevant male bravado and the requisite amount of courage, valor and intestinal fortitude that being that close to an alligator would scare the crap outta me.

That’s all.

2. Doug McCaughan - March 20, 2008

Cathy’s camera died a horrid death. That was taken with the cell phone. Hopefully Monday, another parent will have pictures showing that I managed to maneuver Tommy much closer than this picture. At one point, he could almost pet one! And Noah about stepped on one.

We had 3 boys fall in the water. 2 of the older boys had gone out with a two adults for a more challenging adventure, got sideways in the current and leaned on the wrong side of their boat allowing it to quickly fill with water. They plopped out and stood in the water bailing for several minutes while anxiously watching for movement in the water. Another boy’s hat blew off his head into the water and when he reached for it his whole body just tumbled out of the canoe in deep water. It was scary and humorous watching this panic’d scout 20 feet away from his canoe practically running on water to get to the canoe. We were certain he was going to tip and sink the canoe trying to get in or at least throw his partner out but he was out of the water and in the canoe so fast I’m not even sure how he did it. One adult got soaked when my son tried to help him onto the dock and instead pushed the edge of his canoe underwater sinking the boat. Equipment lost due to water damage in that was the adult’s camera (not mine) and one FRS radio (mine). I was not the adult.

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