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Camping with Alligators

On a summer Saturday morning at 5:30am, my mom woke me up in my large lumpy bed. “Wake up Denali you should get ready your about to live with Bill to Okefenokee Swamp” Mom whispered in my ear.

As soon as I heard I remembered the trip Bill and I planned for a couple of months. I got dressed. I got on a pair of wind pants and a T-shirt and I was ready to go.
I hugged my mom and got in Bill’s little truck, ready for a long journey.
The place where we were going was at the tip of Georgia and was a National Wildlife Preserve and a State Park. The Swamp had many alligators and we didn’t know what we were in for.

We arrived at 8:00pm and I said “There is nobody here so how are we going to camp.” “I see somebody in front of the ranger station maybe he can help,” replied Bill.
As we reached the ranger station we could tell it was an older man. The man looked very nice and simply said “Hi.” We asked what we could do and he replied “There is a night registration over there and you can fill out the form.”

After Bill finished filling out the form we went to find a campsite. On the way there I thought what it would be like seeing a real alligator in the wild. When we arrived I ate a cold and wrote in my journal:

“Today was long and boring but tomorrow we get to go camping with alligators.”

“It’s canoeing day,” I said to myself while racing to the picnic table. I found a Spoon, yogurt, and a banana.

On Friday, the day before we left, we packed some food such as yogurt, wheat bread, noodles, rice mix, fruit, lunchmeat, and cheese.
I was so hungry I ate it before Bill noticed I was up.
“Man you must have been hungry!” Bill exclaimed, noticing my Breakfast was gone.
Because of the butterflies in my stomach I did not realize what Bill had said. I was nervous about today.
Bill approached me to ask “Are you O.K.?”
“Bill I’m a little nervous,” I replied
“Denali you don’t worry about a thing, now come on we need to get our things packed,” he said.
I forgot about the butterflies and got my stuff ready.
I took care of the clothes and Bill took care of food and within 45 minutes we were ready to go.
Getting in the boat was pretty easy, but paddling was harder. Bill showed me how to paddle, “Take your left hand and place it on the top of your paddle, then push it forward,” This worked very well and he also told me you could switch hands when paddling.
Once I got the hang of it we were out and on our way. There was a small passage that led us to the big swampy lake and there it was, my first every alligator. It was big and green and its tail was huge. I could not believe it, “hubba bubba,” I said in amazement.
I soon realized there wasn’t just one, but hundreds, they were everywhere, on the banks, in the water, and on logs. They went from the size of 3 feet to 12 feet.
After about ten miles or so I couldn’t see any sign of the campsite. Of course I notified Bill, “Bill there’s no sign of the campsite.”
“I realize that,” Bill replied softly. It was 11:30 am so we had plenty of time.
“Bill I think were lost,” I said in concern.
“No we’re not let’s keep going we’ll find it,” Bill said firmly.
“Grrrrrrr,” my stomach said again and again. I had to ask Bill if we could stop to eat.
“Sure, let’s stop at that bridge,” Bill said as he turned left to the bridge.
As we approached the bridge we noticed there were people there. As we got closer we noticed it was a couple, a tall young man and woman. When we got up the hill we asked if we could join them. They replied yes so we went down to the boat to get the food, bread, cheese, and lunch meat.
When we reached the top of the hill we sat down close and started a conversation as we ate.
“So where are you guys headed,” I asked.
“We’re actually headed back to the Park,” they replied.
Then out of nowhere Bill asked, “What are your names this is Denali and I’m Bill?”
“Well my name is Jenny and my boyfriend’s name is Rob,” Jenny replied.
“Where are you guys going?” Rob asked.
Bill replied, “Well were going to a campsite not too far from here but we can’t find the place.”
“You mean this place?” Jenny said as she pointed at the eastern side of her map.
“Yeah that’s it, it’s called Long Hammock!!!” we shouted.
“To get there you have to go back about one mile. Then there is a small passage to your left. Then you keep going to find two other passages take a right and you will find a campsite to your left,” Rob said clearly.
After talking for a while we ate our lunch. Bill had a ham sandwich and I had a turkey sandwich. It was pretty good but not as good as my mom’s cooking.
When we were done we talked a little, then we were off. The water was very still so we went pretty fast. When we canoed back we soon found the passage. When we entered the passage we could tell it was different than the rest of the lake because there was a large amount of lily pads. As we went on further we found that it narrowed.

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