Kayaking the Enchanted Okefenokee, Georgia
- Experience the swamp and the Suwannee River in fall
- Airport pick-up and van-supported transportation
- Enjoy on-site cabin accommodations
- Fantastic food, including alligator
- All kayaks and kayaking gear
|Dates||Sep 29–Oct 5, 2013|
The leaders will make every reasonable effort to meet the goals outlined in the itinerary. Please keep in mind that weather or other conditions beyond our control may cause us to modify the itinerary in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the group.
Day 1: We meet at Steven Foster State Park, Georgia at 4 p.m. Participants taking the shuttle will be met at 2 p.m. outside Jacksonville Airport's baggage claim. After greetings and perhaps happy hour, the leader will offer some dry land kayak instruction and we will go over the week's literary and what to expect.
Day 2: Today we are off to Billy's Island! Our trip will take us into remote areas of the Okefenokee, where we will see cypress forests draped with Spanish moss. We will kayak across open prairies and along the remains of man-made canals. We will visit Billy’s Island, one of the largest historic logging camps and permanent settlements. It is no longer inhabited, but cement foundations and iron machine parts remain and show the extent of the logging that once existed.
Day 3: Time to head for the edge of the Okefenokee and the beginning of the Suwannee River. Some of the swamp plants and flowers will be blooming and we should see some of the resident sandhill cranes and great blue herons nesting as we paddle around the swamp. The prairies harbor a variety of wading birds: herons, egrets, ibises, cranes, and bitterns. Turtles and alligators sunning on logs or on the river banks can be observed at distances determined by the strength of your nerves or the power of your binoculars.
Day 4: After breakfast we will drive to the west entrance of the Refuge, where we'll find a restored subsistence swamp farm! After we have stretched out, we will board a Carolina Skiff for a 90-minute tour of the East Okefenokee. We will travel along the historic Suwannee Canal through a tangle forest of bay, cypress, pine and shrubs, then out into the open expanse of Chesser Prairie. The guides will share their knowledge of the swamp's cultural and natural history, tell interesting stories, and identify plants and wildlife along the way. If time allows we will travel to Folkston and see the famous Folkston Funnel. This place has seven railroad tracks converging, all trying to find a way around the trembling earth of the Okefenokee. Tonight we have dinner on our own at a delightful Thai restaurant.
Day 5: An early start today will put us on the water when the local swamp inhabitants are most visible. We will spend much of the day paddling gently through this water shed, watching birds and taking pictures.
Day 6: With water levels allowing, we will travel down from the sill on to the Suwannee River. This part of the Suwannee is usually loaded with wildlife. Keep the cameras handy. We take out at the famous Lem Griffis fish camp.
Day 7: After a great breakfast and our last stroll around Steven Foster, we say good bye and head for Jacksonville Airport. The van transport to the airport will leave by 9 a.m. for our two-hour drive. We should arrive by 11 a.m.
Accommodations and Food
Equipment and Clothing
- Russel, Franklin, The Okefenokee Swamp, Time-Life Books, 1973.
- McQueen, Alexander, The History of the Okefenokee Swamp, Jacobs and Co., Clinton, SC, 1926.
Motors -- motor boats and other motorized equipment -- present the greatest threat to the peace, quiet, and solitude of the Okefenokee's Wilderness. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the Refuge and has the triple responsibility of managing for Refuge values, for wilderness values, and for health of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Sometimes competing management values give way to the convenience of motorized access, and federal managers resort to motorized access even in wilderness areas.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Notes for Sierra Club Outings
- Carbon Offsets
- Electronic Billing and Forms
- Electronic Devices
- How to Apply for a Trip
- Leader Gratuities
- Liability Release and Assumption of Risk
- Medical Issues
- Non-discrimination Statement
- Participant Approval
- Reservation and Cancellation Policy
- Seller of Travel Disclosure
- Travel Insurance
- Trip Feedback
- Trip Price
- Wilderness Manners