Continuing our tour of the Atchafalaya Swamp with Kim Voorhies of "The Atchafalaya Experience" company, we caught a bit of sunshine. With the sun, the blue sky, and the white puffy clouds, the mood of the swamp changed.
The foreboding quality was replaced by the welcoming call of a lake that just called out for a picnic. However, the welcome was the only aspect of the picnic the the swamp could provide. The trees that should mark the shoreline were very misleading and the ground for the picnic blanket was nonexistent. So, we were left with only an imagined lakeside grassy knoll spread with the home-cooked meal.
As we toured with Kim, he talked about life--human, animal, bird, and plant--in the swamp. His conversational style was marked by a love of the environment and a controlled level of anger when referring to anyone who would spoil it.
He would go out of his way to collect a soda can or plastic water bottle that had been tossed away by a
"despoiler." Sadly, the small boat had a significant collection of similar trash at the end of the three-plus hour tour.
One item that we
"collected" on the boat was this tiny frog, which landed on the jeans of one of the passengers. He was about the size of the first knuckle on my thumb.
While navigating the various channels, we wondered if there were such things as maps or some type of charts to guide boaters through the swamp.
Obviously, our guide did not need such resources, but our fear was that a novice boater, drawn into several of the swamp's channels, would be in deep trouble if he ran out of gas...and had no cell phone...and darkness was arriving.
And speaking of darkness, I came across an interesting article about the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi River. This particular passage was interesting: "If you travel by canoe through the river swamps of Louisiana, you may very well grow uneasy as the sun is going down. You look around for a site—a place to sleep, a place to cook. There is no terra firma. Nothing is solider than duckweed, resting on the water like green burlap. Quietly, you slide through the forest, breaking out now and again into acreages of open lake. You study the dusk for some dark cap of uncovered ground. Seeing one at last, you occupy it, limited though it may be. Your tent site may be smaller than your tent, but in this amphibious milieu you have found yourself terrain. You have established yourself in much the same manner that the French established New Orleans. So what does it matter if your leg spends the night in the water" (http://faculty.bennington.edu/~tschroeder).
The following photos of reflections of the trees also present a welcoming view of the swamp. The fact that we were surrounded by water was forgotten as we imagined walking along the shoreline of a large lake.
After a break for lunch, we will make one final visit to the Atchafalaya.