Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Orleans - Self Guided Swamp Tour

New Orleans is incredible.

Jessica and I just got back from another incredible adventure. This time we found ourselves in the humid tropics of Southern Louisiana.

On our first day to the city, we left the city behind and headed to the infamous swamp. Devin, Darin and I returned to the same place that almost claimed our very lives a year earlier. We returned to much nicer weather, and oddly, many more man eating animals.

The path leading you in to the swamp.

Before long, that path takes you to a swamp river and a boardwalk 3 inches above the water level. In effect, putting you within biting distance of dinosaurs. This guy was happy hanging out on said trail until I almost kicked him in a stoke of blind stupidity.

The weather this go around couldn't have been in more contrast to last year if it tried. This same tree last year. Amidst 60 mph winds and vertical downpours.

Jessica had her national geographic game on, and spotted this 8 foot beast from across the river. If you look closely you can see him/her tucked away in the shadows. Alligators may not be as big as crocodiles, but I imagine this bastard wouldn't do too bad in a red-headed photographer eating competition.

She also tracked down this spotted owl with my camera and popped off a terrific shot. I guess any girl who can handle a Nikon D70 like her is worthy of keeping around ;)

This thing was nuts. It had talons the size of frizbees, and a beak that cut through the mightiest of oaks. This "cute little" owl of death had the potential to do some damage and it knew it. From its perch, immediately above the walking path, it would swoop down at innocent tourists like a dive bomb from hell, and then at the last second, hit the brakes and fly up to the next tree.

If I have a spirit animal, I've decided this was it. As it guided us out of the park I felt a connection with it. Perhaps it was it's shared hatred of tye die t-shirt wearing tourists, or perhaps it was the fact that it knows the secret amount of licks it takes to get the center of a lollipop, but either way...I liked it.

Moving on.

I'm not sure there exists an animal of the swamp that can't kill you. Or at least remove a limb. This snake may look like a garden snake... but judging by the catfish eating crabs, the harbinger of death owls, the man eating alligators, and the ROUS (yes rodents of unusual size)... I'd say this snake is a black mamba capable of killing a small village.

Even the most innocent of skinks seem ready to strike with lethal force. Ok, maybe not a skink. Maybe a skank would be deadlier, but who knows...this may be a skanky skink!

I'm not sure, but my money is on poisonous arrow frog.

This picture freaks me out, still. Watching this guy tromp through the river was badass. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park and the electric fence just broke down, and my ford explorer didn't work. And then this ... freaking alligator found me. Ok well whatever, you get the point. Alligators = cool...real cool.

Anyhow. No crazy shenanigans this time. No floods of biblical proportions, no epic car chases fording rivers, no death sprints back to the parking lot...just animals, everywhere.

More Nola Blogs to come =) For now enjoy "the money shot".



Julia said...

It's about time you got these pictures up!! They're awesome!! :)

Joe Wales said...

Ryland digs the gators...

Anonymous said...

Awesome photo!

This is coming many months after your trip but, I am planning a trip to New Orleans in January and was wondering where you took your self-guided swamp tour.

I'm not big on guided tours - i feel trapped and cheesy.


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