Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Walk In The Woods

Enjoying their lovely summer weather, everyone in the garden blogosphere (particularly those in New England and real England) keeps posting about their wonderful jaunts into the woods, and all the ferns, and ladyslippers and cute flowers they keep encountering on the way. I can imagine the temperate air with the breeze in my face, and I can smell the damp leaves and hear the brook in the background.

But here, I can't.  I drag out my air machete to chop through the air so humid it now has atomic weight, the high pitched buzz of mosquitos sings in my ears and the sweat is dripping down my...everything.  The air is completely still, and let me check, oh hey not bad, 97 degrees.

But still, for the blog, I too must go for my walk in the woods.  I don my alligator repellent tshirt, and head out in my trusty black car (I bought this car before I became a card carrying member of the South, OBVIOUSLY), and I zip over a bridge.  (Click all pictures to enlarge to pretend you are here with me - trust me it makes a difference.)

(Hey, I'm serious! do it!)

Ah, the woods!

Marguerite (my post inspiration) commented last post that its easy to forget how different each of our climates are, because as things are all relative, we all complain about the cold when its cold to us, the hot when its hot to us.  I also stubbornly plant a garden thats not really all that indicative of what a lot of people grow around here.   Ick canna, be gone!

Anyhow, the woods here are beautiful in their own way, sort of a vampire way, its true, but still very beautiful and they are filled with cool stuff too.  Not hills, dales or valleys mind you (the highest point around here for 500 miles was that bridge we crossed to get to these here woods, at a whole 30 feet)... but we do have ruins!

As hard as it is to believe, vestiges of the civil war still exist around here and this one, at least, has taken on a roman ruin quality.

Okay, moving along, lest the mosquitos give us some fell disease, what else do we have... oh, swamps!  The word sounds awful, and we are now supposed to use the politically correct 'marsh' (which doesn't sounds any more appealing to me than swamp, and like the swamp cares what we call it), BUT they are also truly very pretty.  And more filled with wildlife than anyplace else I've ever been, this side of East Africa.

Our swamps are filled with cypress and tupelo and the water is stained black because of it.  Not that you would want to go swimming in it anyway... there is no such thing as fresh water swimming around here, unless its lined with blue plastic.  All freshwater is inhabited by alligators and really mean turtles.  I'm not kidding.  Those cute little things can kill! They have dinosaur claws too.  There's also these fish that jump backwards out of the water, called mullets, and well, they probably can't hurt you, but you know what they say.. you are definitely a little backwards if you're caught sporting a mullet. So for life, limb and social acceptance, its just best to steer clear of the fresh water altogether.

So, there you have it.  My little walk for today is complete.  I hope you enjoyed it, cause I don't plan on going without AC for this long again until late September when it gets back to being a great place to live around here!


  1. It looks so Gothic, and reminds me of Louisiana. I love the first photo with the overhanging tree branches. It doesn't look hot but I know the humidity must be miserable. It gets bad enough here in Alabama.

  2. It is a beautiful location. I love how America has so many different climates and regions.
    I like the ruins photos. Awesome!

  3. Jess, I really loved the walk, and I clicked on all the photos as directed. It is so beautiful where you live--spooky woods, deathly swamps, tragic ruins, and all. I look forward to future walks. Carolyn

  4. Your first image made me think Count Dracula. I am glad you said it. They are good photos, it is just the dark passage into the woods gave me the feel of the vamps.

  5. Thank you for a fun post and a walk in the woods. You are such a talented writer and photographer... I did expand your pictures, and they are great. I loved the first one with the lichen hanging down the huge trees. Perhaps you could expand the width of the page so you could post bigger sized pictures?

  6. Yes this sort of summer sounds very very familiar to me. Summer's are not always the best time of year. For those of us who live in more tropical climes, summer is just something to get through! Great post and fab photos.

  7. I can't relate at all, Jess. Not that your descriptive prose wasn't outstanding and your photos gorgeous, it's just that I've always lived in the Pacific Northwest where...well we won't go in to that. But in a few months when I have rain and wind here, you're going to have the most pleasant weather in the country and we'll all be envying you. :)

  8. Jess, the first picture ! OMG was it taken at night or right at dusk? If it's been taken in the last month then it's been bright and sunny and hotter than the blue hubs to h*ll, of course I realize you are in the shade, but still.....

    Yes, it looks very dark and foreboding, and unfortunately vampirish' as you said, but I think the Live Oaks with the Spanish Moss are magical and should be portrayed in the dignity that they deserve. But who am I to say? I am just a Belle of the South who does not believe that the southern charm has Gone With the Wind LOL LOL LOL

    It's a very beautiful and elegant scene, but again "dark" Please tell me where this picture was taken! I must go and take my own picture !

    ya'll will never speak to me again

  9. Hey Jess, I am sooo sympathising with you now. I am sitting here, dripping sweat and it is still early. Hikes start at 6, so you can be finished at 9, when the real heat starts. Ooops, sorry for the distraction, a mullet just jumped in the lagoon, boy those things are loud when they hit the water.

  10. Beautiful walk, although I was glad to be doing it virtually. I know how smothering the humidity can be - and how relentless the mosquitoes can be, too! Thanks for the walk. This is great idea!

  11. A fun post with beautiful pictures. I love live oaks with Spanish moss. You are a dedicated blogger to walk in the woods just to entertain us. It's getting too humid, mosquito-y and overgrown to enjoy woodland walks (much) here in NC. When I go, I have to keep walking fast so the mosquitoes don't catch me ... I'm glad I found your blog!

  12. What a beautiful virtual walk - the best way to enjoy the swamp and the woods of the South at this time of year! I love the visual image of the air machete :) The mosquitoes are in full force here as well and I don't venture out without a full coat of repellant on.

  13. Wonderful walk on the wild side!

    Wild, but I actually have a friend who photographed a wedding in that "ruin" location. It made for some pretty cool pictures, for sure.

    And I can attest - it is HUMID in SC! We just returned from my sister's wedding in Myrtle Beach. Not too warm, thankfully, but thick like soup.


  14. That last picture is a stunner! All the woods around here and tame. The only thing that hurts you is if you've had a few beers and you fall in a ditch!

  15. Well I must say, that makes me appreciate our woods a little more, in that they're not filled with hoards of moquitos, alligators, ankle biting turtles, and back flipping mullets ;) Thankfully our humidity is relatively low too. From here though, your woods/swamp/marsh look absolutely beautiful, and I'm glad you braved a visit.

  16. Jess, what an amazing walk! Ruins and swamps, dangerous animals - it makes my walk seem so tame. and tupelo, how I envy you those trees.

  17. Jess, You have my sympathies. When I first arrived in Maine in May, I had this great plan to walk the woods around my house once a week, and to do a post about the vernal pools. But I just about got eaten alive by the biggest and most voracious mosquitoes I have ever encountered. And that was that; I haven't been back out to walk in the woods since! -Jean

  18. Thanks everyone! (I got mosquito eaten badly, my legs look diseased a bit).

    Sandra - this pic is just south of charleston, in colleton co. There are literally hundreds of identical roads anywhere off the highway between Charleston and the georgia border... you just have to get off the main highway and start wandering down rural routes.

    And no, this pic was taken about noon. To get a shot like that you really want 'bright cloudy'... true darkness (if it were dusk, for instance), you lose both the image depth and the color contrast. In most of these single lane tree tunnels though, it is plenty dim no matter what time of day, and you often have to open up the lens to get in more light, not less.

    The other pics, more out in the open, and with the cloud cover gone were much more difficult because of the high contrast areas and the brights losing the details. I must have taken 50 shots to come up with 4-5 good ones.

    Masha - I have considered it, but to really see the shots I'd have to go to a no margin one, which I'm not quite ready to do just yet. :) I'm attached to my little rose borders.

    And again thanks to all my regular visitors and commenters! I always really appreciate hearing from you.

  19. I'll only come for a walk in the woods with you if you promise to protect me from vampires and alligators...and turtles.

  20. Dear Jess, thank you for braving, heat, mozzies, civil war ghosts, ,etc etc. - a great walk illustrated with great pics! cheers, c