November 2003 Weekend
Short Story

Natures web
Web of Life

Its a four day weekend in the Big Cypress Swamp, much anticipated, as the days leading up to the trip just seemed to drag in time. Its one of the events during the year that I really look forward to. Not Christmas, Not New Years, Not my birthday, none compare to my anticipation of opening day of the regular hunting  season.
And its really not because of the hunting, although that is part of it. What motivates me is its my time  to spend with people that have the same love of nature in the Big Cypress Swamp that I do. The swamp is full of them on the opening weekend of hunting season. Adventurers like me, that know the roughness of the swamp and take that in stride to enjoy nature and the camaraderie shared by those that know and explore the swamp. As one of these friends said, as sportsmen gathered for a cookout on Saturday night, "Its not the hunt that brings us into the Swamp, its being together like this that does".

As we go through life, our time becomes interwoven with those around us. This web of life contains all the people we come into contact with, some are just acquaintances,  but others become friends. Why? because we have something in common, an interest that creates a common bond. This bonding interest, and we all have more then one, is the basis for friendships that develop and strengthen over time. When we are lucky, the friendships last a lifetime.

Big Feet
Bear Prints

Bears: The Big Cypress Swamp is one of the areas in Florida that still has bears in the neighborhood. The picture on the left was taken on Buckskin Prairie. Two sets of prints not 30 feet apart, going the same direction, leads me to believe that a traveling pair of bears had passed by, leaving fairly fresh and large tracks. A bear has been seen for the last months, this weekend was no exception, living in the midst of the private camps near Little Deer Airstrip. We don't bother him and so far he doesn't bother us. What sportsmen wouldn't enjoy watching a bear in its natural environment, doing what bears do to make a living. I hope my turn comes soon, to observe this bear in the Big Cypress Swamp.


Big Cypress Cookout: As I mentioned in the October Weekend story, we invited all the sportsmen from the surrounding camps to come to Six Pack for a Saturday night cookout. We had a pretty good turnout for the first year of restarting this tradition. Sam Woods, one of the original sportsmen from our area came early in the afternoon to visit. I hadn't seen him in at least 10 years. The rest of the sportsmen, arrived after dark. There were a few new faces and plenty of old ones (like mine and Franklin's). I was happy to see, all that arrived were greeted like old friends, even the sportsmen new to the group.
After a simple meal of burgers and beans, we had a friendly competition between the camps. We had a potato gun Skunk Ape shoot off. After instructions on the operation of the potato gun, we brought out the skunk ape and proceeded to try to potato him. It sure didn't seem to be as easy as it sounds.
This friendly competition was won by Bears Den, Karl Greer delivered a potato to the forehead that had the skunk ape rocked off his feet. The prize was the potato gun itself and all the fixins for more shootin.

The Skunk Ape looks infatuated with Karl
The Skunk Ape and Karl share a moment

Story by Steve - November, 2003