Editor’s Note: Today the four of us were scheduled for a ranger-led swamp walk in Big Cypress National Preserve. We all went in with different expectations, and we all left with different experiences. Following is the second of our He Said/She Said: Swamp Walk Edition.
I could sum up this blog post in one word: Ick.
But just to say ‘Miranda’s Take on the Swamp Walk’ and write ‘Ick’, is not very interesting. So I guess I will have to go back into the murky mud of my misty mind and dig up what I remember.
As we headed out into the mud, I thought that I would remember this experience as me mostly trying to keep my shoes on my feet. They were bought from Goodwill, and apparently were a bit big for me. I tried to step in places were I didn’t think the mud would be so deep, but in a couple of the places my foot would sink half a foot or so, and I would have considerable trouble pulling it back out.
But that wasn’t the entire walk, which I was happy about. The mud finally succumbed to the excess amount of water, and I followed suit. Water poured into my shoes, soaking my socks and pant legs.
“Ick,” I said, which became the word I said the most during the walk.
It got worse. The water rose until it was right below my knees, and the roots of the cypress trees lurked under the water, waiting and hoping to trip me up.
I hardly remember any of the plants that were talked about. I do remember getting to the gator hole and being told to pretend I was a cypress tree; stand comfortably, close my eyes, and just listen to the sounds that were around me. There were splashes, but I resisted the urge to open my eyes and see what it was. There was bird song, and scuffling in the bushes. There was the gentle breathing of the people around me, and I imagined that it was a soft breeze.
On the way back, I got trapped. I couldn’t feel the bottom with my foot, even though the walking stick I was using told me it wasn’t more than two feet down. I fell into a nervous breakdown and stayed in such a state of fear until we got out of the water and back into the actual mud, which felt like solid ground to my wet and withered feet.
The best part of the whole experience was rinsing off. Once my shoes were off and my socks were off (I could have sworn they were white when I put them on) I felt as clean as a newborn baby.
I’m glad I did it. It was an experience. But it is not something I would jump to do again.