Gators, Swamps, & Spiders! Oh My!

Saturday my mom and I headed south to help out at a show of my brothers. We happened to be really close to the Okefenokee Swamp, so we decided to take a little detour and see some nature that is foreign to us in Athens!

The entrance to the board walk through the swamp was beautiful and made me think this swamp walk would be serene and peaceful - even though we had to sign a liability waiver.......
 ....however, the actual board walk was really just three short boards side by side WITH NO RAILING. Luckily we did not encounter one single person on the trail because I would have cried in panic for sure.....
I literally almost peed my pants when I saw these stumps. Seriously. I jumped and lost my balance for a hot minute. Stupid stumps. They shouldn't have these in the swamp water when you are watching out for gators!! Don't they look gator-ish? Or is it just me? ;)
 Everywhere was like a beautiful painting......


 This spider was HUGE!!! Does anyone know what kind this is? It was a colorful beauty for sure!!

 Just for reference..... my cute mama's hand....
 Mama: "What was that sound??"

 ....and then we saw this beast. Honestly we thought it was fake at first. Then realized it was very real.
His name was Crazy and he was one of the largest gators in the swamp. He was just over 12 feet.
 It was a very cold night, so luckily the gators were too busy sunning to worry about anything else. Apparently we got extremely lucky to be able to get so close )we got within about 20 feet) to such a large one as Crazy. (We did ask the park rangers before we got close, partially because we thought he was a fake at first, but didn't wanna take a risk!)

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