Wet Land Wandering
For this weeks adventure I thought we could get a little closer to the more natural aspects of Virginia, so we headed south to the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. We found ourselves in the town of Suffolk, exploring only the northwest region of the swamp, but as a whole the park covers parts of south-east Virginia and northern North Carolina.
Now when I first imagined visiting this swamp I envisioned something stereotypically boggy right out of Louisiana, and as usual we found it to be something a bit different. Whereas usually we are thrilled with our findings, this time we were faced with a bit of a challenge.
As per usual, I’ll start with the drive. It began with crossing the James River Bridge.
Then things got a little country.
Our first sign of swamp lands!
Being as attentative as I am at giving directions, obviously we got a little lost. Luckily we found a map at the entrance to an auto tour within the national park.
Auto tour entrance. It was blocked off but looked very tempting.
At last, we found the entrance to an open boardwalk trail. Upon pulling into the tiny parking lot a cricket/grasshopper sort of combo made it’s way through the sun roof of the car and into our business. Both of us having severe anxiety and an extreme fear of bugs meant this did not go over so well. Once we were safely parked and out of the car away from the monster we realized exactly what we were about to put ourselves through.
Bugs. A LOT of bugs. And other unidentifiable creepy crawlies. Did I mention we have anxiety?
We had no idea that this swamp was essentially an EXTREMELY muddy forest, creatures included. I mean don’t get me wrong it was beautiful, but it took pure strength to convince ourselves not to run squealing back to the car… On top of that, we were all alone. Im not saying that it was a bad thing, but being deep in the woods completely alone comes with it’s mixture of serenity and cautiousness. Actually… it was a pretty wild feeling.
But enough words, here’s some pictures…
Good thing I didn’t bring my horse.
We had NO interest in finding out what sort of species had been using this tree as a scratch post. It also just so happened to be the first thing we saw as we entered the swamp. If we weren’t anxious enough already, this really didn’t reassure us that we were coming out of this alive.
No shortage of butterflies in these swamps.
Do you see what I see? Something spikey taking a nap in the swamp. I can only guess that maybe it’s a toad of sorts. Wasn’t looking to figure that one out the hard way.
Ok, so maybe we weren’t completely alone.
These metallic little suckers where EVERYWHERE. If I wasn’t so entranced by the color I would have run away screaming.
I think/hope that there is something to learn from our little adventure this week. I’ve been on a “facing your fears/living your dreams” kick for a while, and without even realizing it I stumbled upon a blog post that emanates exactly that. I mean I wouldn’t call venturing through a bug infested forest a lifelong dream of mine, but we sure as hell faced a fear. If you have anxiety like me, you know how difficult it can be to overcome even the smallest obstacles. But when you build up the courage to do so, it can give you the push you need to face the bigger challenges in life.
So while we walked into the swamp expecting the worst, we walked out with a mind set that said… Bring it on.