So, I recently just went on the coolest field trip of my nearly 16 years of schooling. Jeez that makes me feel old…
For our ecology class, Lindsay took us kayaking up Lake Drummond, one of two freshwater lakes in Virginia, to learn about coastal wetland habitats. For those of you who have never been to the Great Dismal Swamp (where Lake Drummond is located), 10 out of 10 would recommend. It’s absolutely ah-mazing.
Also, shoutout to Lindsay for being in her third trimester of pregnancy and kayaking for about 9 miles. Future life goals right there.
Fun history fact: back in the day, people used the word dismal to refer to swamps, so “dismal swamp” literally means swamp swamp. Things in life that make you go hmm…
Speaking of history, Bland Simpson, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, led our wetlands tour and made it even more of a great experience than it already was. The man is a natural born storyteller. He even has his own bonafide book about the Great Dismal Swamp and everything. Some of the stories he told from his time there are pretty interesting and hilarious as well. If you ever meet him, definitely ask about the bear and the tiny little car!
So, during this adventure, we paddled up the lake canals about 3 and a half miles, had lunch at a charming little picnic locale, and then paddled about another half a mile to the lake basin.
Fun ecology fact (man it was an interesting day): Lake Drummond is a pocosin, or swamp on a hill, which means that it’s at a higher elevation than the rest of the area; so this big circular lake can drain into the canals and then flow into the ocean because it happen to form “on a hill.” What?!
Back to us on the lake, it was gorgeous. Like, one of those moments in life that make you pause and really appreciate how incredible nature is. We paddled out into this huge open, circular expanse of water with the opposite shoreline a mere pinpoint on the other side.
It was like being in a big, tea-colored swimming pool. Except way cooler because well, nature.
Once we tired ourselves out from paddling around like maniacs, we all gathered together in a kayak tortilla and Bland read us a ballad written by Thomas Moore about a ghost story on the swamp. Because who doesn’t love a good ghost story?!
I mean…probably not late at night in the dark but it was totally fine while the sun was shining and I was in the middle of our kayak group. So I’m kind of a wimp?
Also, the ballad is called A Ballad: The Great Dismal Swamp. The title is lacking a bit of originality, but it’s a great ballad as far as ballads go. Or at least I thought so.
Afterwards, he talked about how important the wetlands were, the history of the swamp, and how he spent a huge portion of his life studying them. It was incredibly interesting and awesome to be able to physically see what he was talking about. I now have quite an appreciation for how important and misunderstood these areas are.
Whew. I’m telling you, this field site gets me fired up about the environment.
But anyways, that’s how we spent our Friday- kayaking and learning about the environment around us. Then we all went home, ate anything we could get our hands on, and passed out by 10 o’clock. Learning’s hard work…
XOXO Someone Who Just Developed a New Found Love of Kayaking