Spooked In The Swamp!

I must say that I sometimes amaze myself with the stupidity of my ideas. First I must defend myself and tell you how I came to want to visit the swamp. A few weeks ago Dirt Man and I stopped by the visitor’s center at Merchant’s Millpond state park. It appeared so inviting with it’s replica wildlife and fauna. I couldn’t wait to go back and hike. Little did I understand that evil lurks in swamps. Nor did I know they had alligators there until I read the literature. Convinced they couldn’t get me if I stayed clear of the water, I still determined it to be a great place to explore.

Yesterday we arose to overcast skies and a mist in the air. I thought the day was doomed to inside activities. I was bummed because I had my heart set on walking that swampland. Early afternoon the sun poked through the clouds, and we were off to live out my desire for the day.

When we approached the swamp, we were greeted with sunshine. We were met with the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle and the more woodsy scent of bayberry. The forest exuded aromas of fruit, flora, and red cedar. My eyes were delighted by the violet hues of wild iris everywhere. The frogs bleeped and woodpeckers strummed. We even heard the scurrying of squirrel and deer. And then we came upon the one and only pair of hikers we encountered. (I had assumed the alligators ate them all. Little did I know there was something much more evil lurking in those waters!) This couple were aiming their camera up a tree. I assumed they were capturing lovely shots of birds. WRONG! They were taking pictures of a snake catching and eating a frog! Dang, I’d been looking on the ground for snakes. I had no idea I had to be concerned about them dropping out of the trees onto my head! My worry level went up about ten meters. I should have taken this sighting as an omen.

We traipsed along. Wylie and Dirt Man led the way. Surely if something was going to get us, it would get them first and be too full to eat me. Well, let’s just say they were not very good detectives. They both walked right past this black snake. Oh yeah, I saw him. Actually, in all fairness, he was quite a gentleman. He even posed for pictures. He was unconcerned with us. That eased me a little though I was still quite concerned about alligators. Of course, I had yet to encounter the evil one.

As we crossed the road to the other side, everything darkened. No wonder, that’s were evil hides. Even the water on this end of the swamp was murky, probably from snakes and alligator roaming in search of food.We decided to peer into the gloomy swamp from the boat ramp. Evil (Eastern Cottonmouth water moccasin) stared us straight in the eyes, and did not care much for the invasion. He thrust himself into the air, opening his mouth to take a plug out of us, revealing his massive white mouth. I nearly took out the steps scrambling up them. Dirt Man wanted a pic…this pic is courtesy of him as I ran away. Evil was not fond of getting his picture taken. The upper half of him shot out of the water again. Fortunately, he was too big and fat so his heavy rear was weighted in the muck. That really ticked him off. He tried to chase us. He came thrashing through the water underneath the wooden boat ramp. I half expected him to bore a hole through it and get us. Dirt Man wanted to know if I wanted to take the trail on that gloomy scary portion of the swamp. “No, I’m done. Let’s just go home.” Apparently, he doesn’t listen to me. We continued on

As we crossed the bridge, we did encounter some lovely sites such as these turtles sunning themselves. Still, I had not forgotten the evil one nor had I quit looking for alligators.

This is the first fish ladder I have ever seen.

Duckweed floats around the almost blooming lotus. Much of the pond is covered with duckweed and pollen.

This is my favorite reflection photo. My fear disappeared mometarily.

Even the bridge looks like a snake!

Again, I stuck Dirt Man and Wylie out front. We stopped  for him to grab a stick…you know in case we came upon another evil one. Though he said they stayed in the water, this was just in case there was another mean kind like rattlers or copperheads. While he was preparing his stick, a sick smell overwhelmed me.

“I smell that horrible odor like something’s dead. You know the kind that snakes emit when they are setting off a warning?” Note that the last two we encountered did not do that, but I had always heard  of it. I looked down and I saw it.

“Oh, crap Wylie is sniffing a snake!”

“That one’s dead. Don’t you see the bugs on it?” (Aren’t you happy I didn’t take a picture of that one?)

Well, no I wasn’t looking for bugs. Heck, I was lucky I even saw it all. We had been standing beside it for about five minutes before Wylie found it. Ok, I must admit that I think dead snakes are the good kind. However, it was a black one which Dirt Man claims is the good kind.

Parts of the swamp (the pond part) were beautiful and enjoyable. At one time, Dirt Man called back and forth to an owl. It wasn’t the kind that hoots. It called out what sounds like “who cooks who cooks who cooks for you”. It sounds funny. Dirt Man would call it back, and the owl would repeat it and come closer to us.

From that point on, everything appeared to be snakes. They came at me from everywhere. The limbs from the trees started reaching out to bite me. The sticks struck at me. Roots slithered across the ground and the vines popped out of nowhere. I became a walking jack-in-the-box. I was tormented for an entire two miles by these hideous creatures of my imagination. By then, I was begging to see an alligator. I thought an alligator to be a relief in comparison to the evil one! There were quite a few canoes on the swamp, though not on this side. Can’t say I blame them for sticking to the pond area. Last year (even last week) I thought I’d love to canoe out there. Now there is no way you’ll catch me in that water with the evils of snakes and alligators that would love to have me for lunch!

61 thoughts on “Spooked In The Swamp!

  1. Pingback: Spooked In The Swamp! (via The Water Witch’s Daughter) | Change is Never Ending

  2. After that encounter, I would have turned tail and run!! I absolutely cannot stand snakes unless they are on TV or the opposite side of a thick pane of glass (like in the zoo). You are one brave woman.

    Glad you at least got some good pictures!

    ♥Spot

    • Don’t you think zombies in the swamp with big bad snakes and alligators will make a great horror story for you to write? I’d rather read it than be the zombie in it!

  3. We went to the swamps in Louisiana and I saw a lot of alligators, but no snakes. I have a healthy respect for snakes, but I’m not really afraid of them. When I was married before, we had a cattle ranch and while there were a lot of rattle snakes around, I really do believe they tried to avoid us. Swamp areas have something worse to me than snakes and that’s mosquitos! I hate those things. Actually, I’m not crazy about anything that crawls, flies, or slithers along.

    • Mosquitos weren’t bad…but soon they will be. This cottonmouth was meaner than any rattlesnake I’ve ever encountered….of course, I found out AFTER the encounter that it is breeding season and they are territorial right now.

  4. There is a book that talks about seeing animals (certain types) as signs. It’s called, The 10th Insight. I can’t remember what it said about figuring out what they mean, but it was interesting.

    I ALSO saw a snake this weekend. It came to our back patio door to let us know it was around. It was medium sized and in the family of your black snake. It was a grey rat snake. And yes, it’s the good kind. Doesn’t bite and if it does won’t hurt anything. They do climb trees.

    I took a picture too. LOL.

    Now….Cottonmouths and Copperheads are a whole different thing. THEY BITE and have VENOM. So yeah, I don’t like those. We had a lot of them in Oklahoma growing up. I can’t believe how that sucker came after ya’ll.

    LOVE the pictures and I hope you wear think knee-high boots next swamp visit. 🙂

  5. You are one brave woman for going out into snakey-country! Just reading your account reminded me on my encounter with a garter snake, and I was horrified at the thought I might have seen another one while I was mowing earlier today! Your reflection photo, however, might have been worth the terror.

    • I call that photo my saving grace! I did get some other pretty shots, but if I show them all it will make the swamp appear too pretty and not nearly as spooky as it was. Even the foreboding dark corners came out with lovely color and depth!

  6. Now that you’ve given me a tour through a swamp, I see absolutely no need or reason to visit one in person. I consider myself warned.

  7. I grew up in swampland, in rural north Florida, and even I wouldn’t want to be hiking out there in the spring. Cottonmouths are vicious, aggressive buggers, especially this time of year. Eeek! I’m not deathly afraid of snakes. If I see them before they see me we’re all good. I can change routes or skirt around them, and if I know they’re nonvenomous I’ll even touch them if they’re docile. But I am terrified of one finding me whilst I’m unawares and deciding to try a bite. I know they can’t eat me, but a poisonous one can sure make me dead (or nearly so). That scares me. I’ve definitely felt that knee-shaking fear as I walked along a trail and worried that I’d be at the receiving end of snake teeth. I can absolutely relate. Save the swamp hiking for the dead of winter…it’s much safer!

  8. Wonderful post, Suzi! I was with you every step of the way . . . especially when you ran away from that cottonmouth!

    Snakes give me the Heebie Jeebies.

    I like to keep them at a distance . . . and dislike them being above shoulder height.

    • We can run rather quickly, can’t we?! They give me the heebie jeebies, too! The thought of alligators do, too…though I have yet (and hope I don’t) to see one up close and personal!

    • Alligators don’t bother me as much. They are not as aggressive as cottonmouths . . . and they are easier to spot from the dock.

      I would NOT however swim in alligator ponds. 😀

  9. “Evil (Eastern Cottonmouth water moccasin) stared us straight in the eyes, and did not care much for the invasion. He thrust himself into the air, opening his mouth to take a plug out of us, revealing his massive white mouth.”

    OMG, Suzi….when I read that, I actually curled my toes and brought my legs up off the floor onto my chair!!!!!

    I got the heebie-jeebies!!!!! HA!

    Having lived in Florida for 20 years, I’m use to seeing snakes and gators, but they still frighten me. However, turtles I love.

    GORGEOUS photos you took. Especially the first one! The color and clarity are amazing!

    Thanks for sharing your day! Enjoyed reading about it.

    X

    • Oh Ron, you crack me up! I’ve seen way too many snakes in my lifetime, and not enjoyed it…not too excited to see the gators unless they’re in a zoo or otherwise habitat in which I am safe from them.

  10. I’m not even going to talk about the snakes, thank you very much. That is a great reflection photo that you got. We’ll just think happy thoughts. 🙂 And I’m happy you made it back. I’m not sure about Dirt Man and Wylie protecting you…

    • Happy thoughts are much better than swampy thoughts. I thought maybe you’d like to go on a hike there next time I go, however I won’t go back until the ground is frozen!

  11. Dear Swamp – I saw pictures of you that SuziCate posted on her blog. This communication is the closest that I will get to you. We were not made for each other. Sincerely, Tracy

  12. Wow, you risked your life to get these pictures (which were great, by the way). If that had been me, my hubby would’ve been carrying me out of there after I saw the first one!

    I haven’t seen a snake while hiking, but I suspect it’s because I haven’t looked hard enough. (We have lots of rattlesnakes and they blend in with the desert rocks very well, so I’m told.)

    • Yes, rattlers do blend well. At least they give a warning which would probably make me either freeze or faint and still get bitten. I’ve never seen one as vicious as this cottonmouth, way aggressive.

  13. You are much braver than I .. there is no way I would have walked that trail knowing there were snakes and other spooky things … jumping, biting snakes… oh my!
    Love the picture of the Blue Flag Iris (at least that is what we call them here in Minnesota) … I have several weeks to a month before they will brighten my woods again.

  14. You certainly made the spooky swamp look very inviting! Your pics are great…even the ones of the snakes. Glad you made it out alive. :-0

  15. That’s amazing. I spent over twenty-four years in south and north-east Texas and never saw a rattler, water moccasin, or any other poisonous snake, unless it was in a zoo. Bet you wish you had my luck. 😉 Lovely pictures though.

  16. Pingback: Merchants Millpond, The Other Side « The Water Witch's Daughter

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