I mean, ten years ago I was banking on a future rich with baby dolls, hair bows, kittens and rainbows. Yet, I spent my afternoon alligator hunting at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. No, it is not April Fools Day and no, I am not even kidding. And the peculiar thing here is that I’m actually about to recommend this as a great way to spend a couple of hours in Savannah. *gasp* (Oh, and by “in” Savannah, I really mean “near” Savannah seeing as it is across the South Carolina line.)
The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 29,000 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks and bottomland hardwoods. The refuge is located in the heart of the Lowcountry, a band of low land, bordered on the west by sandhill ridges and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, extending from Georgetown, South Carolina to St. Mary’s, Georgia. The region is home to a diverse wildlife population, including birds, ducks and alligators. The latter of which was most interesting to my foolhardy crew.
We inched down the four mile trail, going about a mile before seeing anything of note. But once we saw how the terrifying reptiles were camouflaging themselves, we started to see them everywhere. Giant gators and baby gators and all sorts of in between sizes. Keep in mind that this place is just nature – there is nothing to keep them from getting you if you get to close. (Hence why we admired the beasts from the car.)
There really is so much more than just gators to see, although they kind of steal the show. For instance, our state flower, the Cherokee rose. In my whole life I’ve never seen one in Georgia. However, cross the state line to South Carolina and you can’t miss them. Strange…
And birds and ducks and turtles are plentiful. There are even some incredible expanses of lily pads!
It’s free to ride through and it’s open all week. If you’re hunting gators, you really have to train your eye to see them. They seemed to lurk just on the edge of the muddy brown waters. Once you see a couple, you’ll start to see enough to kind of freak you out. Mother had a keen eye for them and gave us lots of tips. I never knew she knew so much about them… Needless to say, the littles were completely enamored. And a wee bit scared (which I’m thinking is a good thing.)
See ya later, alligator.