Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chapter 5: Where the Wild Things Are

With finally an early night in, and a lack of stone blind inebriation the previous night, we were all able to rise and do a day of activity. We were set to see the swamps. We gathered our gear, and made trail.

We stopped by along the way to take in local architecture.

In this case a large row of buildings of catholic origin.

After some minor sight seeing, we headed with good speed for the swamps.

Fascinating place. Wildlife everywhere. Of course, we didn't have long in the wildlife preserve before we had to leave again to head the due opposite direction to catch our swamp tour.

Still enough time to catch a few tree frogs.

As we blazed down the free way we saw some incredible structures. Buildings raised straight up in the air, presumably to cope with the change of tide.

Although what they do about there vehicles. Maybe its more for sake of flooding or their infamous hurricanes.

After driving ages, and nearly passing straight by the damn place, we found our tour destination.

Low and behold, what would we see as entering our tour boat? None other then a gator surfaced just feet from us.

The tour continued with promise of snakes, gators, turtles, and all sorts of wild life. In the end, short of our first gator encounter, I think we managed to see all of 2 turtles.

However the sights, smells, and ability to watch Denise freak out about the prospect of snakes jumping into the boat managed to prove entertaining enough.

Eventually we found structures at the side of the bayou. Even a few young'ins (excuse my cajun), I guess people really are born on a bayou.

This was our ships captain, can't recall his name, he was very southern though. VERY Southern.

We eventually came across dilapidated buildings that seem to have been abandoned wreckage from Katrina.

As we got into a wide open straight, the captain offered up the wheel. I couldn't resist.

The tour ended, and the hostel group split back to Nola. Myself and my crowd of brigands headed for more scenery.

We ended up at the gulf. Yes, the famously, and freshly ravaged gulf of Mexico. Not that I remember it being remarkably, clean or pleasant to swim in before the oil spill.

Still a feast for the senses.

Myself and Billy not the lads satisfied with the well travelled tourist side of life, decided later we would find a real swamp. We drove out to a local nature preserve near the Big Easy. We arrived, stopped into the information cabin to suss out what they had to offer. We were given a map of the area, and explicitly told not to bother the wildlife.

It wasn't long into our trek before it became apparent that this would be far less touristy then the swamp tour, as almost immediately we were seeing skinks, geckos, snakes, and more.

This little gecko was the first we would encounter. Although he was far surpassed by the skink that ran up my arm when I stopped to lean on a post. He nearly became a permanent addition to our ranks as I couldn't for the life of my get him off me. Eventually after removing him from my hair, we proceeded.

In just a short distance we countered our first snakes.

After a good trek we made it into a more swampy area or the preserve. And it didn't take long till we encountered our first gator.

It was seeing this little fellow that had the reptile enthusiast in me debating forgoing the park rangers instructions. I did reluctantly try and pick the wee guy up, but it scurried off very quickly. And for those of you thinking it was a stupid thing to do, hey, I got the medical insurance for a reason.

The next one we would come across was a little larger, and a lot further out then I was comfortable attempting any manoeuvres with.

We continued on through majestic viewpoints.

Well of all the treks I've taken, this certainly was more unique then I'm used to. What an amazing place the swamp is. From the flora to the fauna and back again, a very diverse and beautiful world.

Next on the chopping block, Chapter 6: Don't Be Feckin' With My Irish Whiskey!

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