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We hiked through the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Barataria Wildlife Preserve. A boardwalk led us directly through the swamp. We were in the center of impenetrable wilderness and closely surrounded by bayou animals and insects.
90 degrees fahrenheit. 100% humidity. In the middle of the flooded bayou, we were soaked with sweat. It was amazing.
Tiny lizards darted away as we walked. Lime green tree frogs basked in the sun, clinging to broad palmetto fronds. Giant Golden Orb Spiders hung frozen in their elaborate webs that gleamed yellow in the sun. Obese squirrels jumped between live oak branches. Ann Arbor squirrels clearly have ancestry in the South. The canopy of cypress trees sheltered us from the worst heat. Their little knees peaked out over the green cover. There were no alligators to be found.
A park ranger from Allen Park, MI stopped to chat. His sister lived in Brighton, my home town. The financial state of the economy left him distressed. He blamed profligate overspending by Michiganders. Avoiding a political discussion, we inquired about the alligators. “In this heat, you won’t find any. I’ve checked some of their favorite hiding spots, and I haven’t seen any all day. But, I don’t usually see ’em until they are right on top o’ me!”
We were disappointed at his prediction, and a little unnerved that an alligator could be just inches away from us at any time without us knowing it. As we walked, I remarked that the bayou looked very fragile. Emily pointed out that it withstands at least one big hurricane a year.
We ended the day at Napoleon House, drinking a Pimm’s Cup.
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