Sunday, November 12, 2017

Great Dismal Swamp NWR

The campground here is just a few miles away from the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  We've been wanting to check it out and see if they have any resident volunteer opportunities, so we took advantage of one last beautiful afternoon to go for a drive.

We located the Refuge Headquarters and stopped in to talk to the Ranger on duty.  They do not have RV sites for resident volunteers, so no luck there, but we talked for a while and she directed us to the Wildlife Drive.

The Wildlife Drive is a 6 mile long road through the swamp, out to Drummond Lake.  

There are a few short boardwalks along the way.  We skipped the first one because the small parking lot was already full, but stopped at the next one, Cypress Marsh.

It was a nice raised boardwalk through a cypress-filled marsh.  The Cypress trees were a beautiful golden brown color for Fall.

It was a beautiful day for a walk!

We reached the end of the boardwalk, which was just a short distance down the road from where we had parked the Jeep.  We could have walked back on the boardwalk, but we just followed the road back.

There was a canal that followed along the side of the road.  It looked like a perfect habitat for alligators . . . but we know there aren't any in Virginia!

We exited the woods and made a left turn along an area of the marsh that recently burned.  It looked strange with no trees standing, just blackened stumps lying on the ground.

We reached the lake, which is the largest natural lake in Virginia, but only an average depth of 6 feet.  That's a really shallow lake -- you could practically walk all the way across it!

It's a pretty lake, though.

The lake is popular with kayakers and fishermen, and there is a fishing pier into the lake.

It looks like a good spot for bird-watching, too, but we didn't spot anything while we were there.

One last stop on the way out -- at the first boardwalk that we had skipped on the way in.

It was just a short boardwalk in the tall pines.

Lots of leaves on this trail - somebody needs to get out here with a blower!

Another nice walk, though, on a beautiful fall day . . . it would be our last warm day for a while!!

We enjoyed our visit to the Great Dismal Swamp.  It's too bad they don't have facilities for volunteers -- this would be a great location for visiting Nicolas!

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