Lake Drummond via bike ride

I relish the opportunity to explore a region, and while The Great Dismal Swamp isn't far from me, I'd only visited a couple times. So when The Wilderness Society contacted me about their project on the refuge, I jumped at the opportunity.
The Great Dismal Swamp is a National Wildlife Refuge straddling the boarder of Virginia and North Carolina. It's home to many species, known mostly for birds, but also bears. I didn't know this until I came across one - imagine my surprise to find a bear in coastal Virginia. No, I didn't get the photo.

More rare: people or bears?

Thankfully, the refuge also sees humans from time to time.

Silence over the lake

The immediately obvious fact that strikes you while exploring is how desolate the area is.

Red fall trees

The history of the area, however, isn't immediately obvious. The Wilderness Society's mission is to tell that story. Slaves looking for freedom lived in hiding within the swamp for centuries before the Civil War. That's not a typo. CENTURIES. Tracking down the stories of people who made a life out of not being found is quite difficult.
Ancestors of those slaves largely now live in the communities surrounding the swamp. I'll share more photos of those communities to this blog throughout the month.
Click here to check out The Wilderness Society's page on the swamp.
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