Swamp

You can’t go to Louisiana without visiting a swamp. It took us until the last couple weeks of the program, but we did eventually get around to it, and boy was it wonderful. Some of the best weather (in my opinion, at least) that we’ve had the whole time – it was a cool summer day, and the brief spat of rain we had while we were out there was very light, of that nice kind where you never get wet enough that it won’t dry off after a couple of minutes. It was wonderful.
I brought my camera, of course, because how could I not? By the end of the tour – it lasted a couple of hours – I’d snapped almost 500 pictures. It was one heck of a trip, and I’m incredibly glad that I went. (It also turned into one heck of a road trip getting back – the Atchafalaya Bridge had a couple accidents in the direction we were heading, and we wound up taking a detour that more than doubled the actual length of the bridge. It was an Adventure.)
As I write this, I have been sitting down for a couple hours, working away at sorting those pictures. By the time this goes up, I’ll have posted a few on my Instagram, because I’m not above a bit of shameless self-promotion. For the ones I kept for this here site, head below the fold.

The trees that grow in the water like this are rather weird, if you ask me.
The trees that grow in the water like this are rather weird, if you ask me.
In order to keep themselves up, the trees have pretty massive taproots below ground.
In order to keep themselves up, the trees have pretty massive taproots below ground.
After the rain cleared out, the sky turned a beautiful shade of blue.
After the rain cleared out, the sky turned a beautiful shade of blue.
We spent a good ten minutes floating around over by this boat, watching a heron, but I never did see anyone on board. The alligators got them, I assume.
We spent a good ten minutes floating around over by this boat, watching a heron, but I never did see anyone on board. The alligators got them, I assume.
I think this is what I find so weird about the trees - in the water like this, they seem like they're always decaying, but just growing a bit faster than they're dying. It's odd.
I think this is what I find so weird about the trees – in the water like this, they seem like they’re always decaying, but just growing a bit faster than they’re dying. It’s odd.
We saw quite a few alligators while we were out boating around.
We saw quite a few alligators while we were out boating around.
Some of the trees got rather impressively tall.
Some of the trees got rather impressively tall.
There was a family of ospreys, and we did eventually find their nest.
There was a family of ospreys, and we did eventually find their nest.
The lake houses one of the largest wading bird rookeries in the country - it's illegal to hunt them within its confines, and the birds know that.
The lake houses one of the largest wading bird rookeries in the country – it’s illegal to hunt them within its confines, and the birds know that.
The boat moved slowly enough that we barely disturbed the water at all, and we were able to see some beautiful reflections.
The boat moved slowly enough that we barely disturbed the water at all, and we were able to see some beautiful reflections.
Fun fact: these herons spear their prey, and then toss it up in the air, catching it in their mouths and swallowing it. With fish, they need to make sure the fish lands face-down, because otherwise the fins can flip open in their throat and the bird will choke to death.
Fun fact: these herons spear their prey, and then toss it up in the air, catching it in their mouths and swallowing it. With fish, they need to make sure the fish lands face-down, because otherwise the fins can flip open in their throat and the bird will choke to death.
"A swamp is a forest growing in a lake," our guide said.
“A swamp is a forest growing in a lake,” our guide said.
Sunset on the swamp was far more beautiful than I would've expected.
Sunset on the swamp was far more beautiful than I would’ve expected.