There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding swamps. What comes to mind when you hear the word “swamp?”
Is it tales of “Swamp Things” or gross creatures that lurk in the murky waters? Maybe it's the idea of snakes dropping from trees? Do you get a little afraid of the idea of bayous literally infested with alligators? Maybe its the vast numbers of biting insects that buzz through the air? Or what about the oppressive heat and storms in the summertime? If any of these came to mind, you’re not alone. We’ve heard all of these concerns, and from Scouters from every corner of the country.
But what if we told you that everything you’ve heard or seen in the movies or on TV just aren’t true???
There is no doubt that Scouts will see plenty of alligators during a high adventure trek. Many crews see over 100 during their 5 day journey!
But is it really safe to paddle and swim in waters which alligators live? Absolutely! Though alligators have lots of teeth, they are incredibly shy and docile creatures, and would rather swim away from a group of loud and energetic Scouts. Unfortunately alligators are too often mistaken for their more dangerous crocodile relatives. FYI, we have no crocs in the swamp!
The association of snakes with swamps is not unexpected. However, the reality is far different than their expectation.
How many snakes will we see on the trail? It is incredibly uncommon to see snakes during a Swamp Base trek. Many times crews will be lucky if they see even one snake during their 5 days in the swamp. We have also never had an instance of a snake falling into a canoe. The most common snakes seen during a trek are non-venomous water snake species.
Whether you’re traveling to your local Scout camp or going to Northern Tier, you know that mosquitoes and summer go hand in hand. However, the idea that mosquitoes are worse in the swamp is a myth.
Mosquitoes in the swamp are no worse than other wilderness/recreation areas in the country. Many Scouts report very few bites. The added benefit of Swamp Base is that most of the programs happen on the water, where mosquitoes rarely congregate. When in a wooded environment, Swamp Base has planned activities and campsite locations so that mosquitoes rarely become an issue, as prevailing winds keep them away.
SUMMER HEAT & RAINSTORMS
How hot are you going to be? If you’re traveling from a northern state or an area of elevation, the temperatures will likely take some time to get used to. However, temperatures in the swamp are much cooler than they would be in an urban or suburban environment, because our program is all about the water. Crews routinely stop for “swim breaks” to cool down, and when you’re wet the flow of air from paddling can be quite refreshing.
South Louisiana’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico helps to regulate summertime temperatures and also accounts for afternoon rain showers, which can help drop temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees.