Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, NC, USA (Photo)

In 2007 I decided to take the long way across North Carolina because I wanted to get a good look at the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a 152,000-acre  wilderness that starts at the Ocean’s edge and continues for many miles inland. It is home to wild packs of red wolves (which I did not see), alligators (which I saw on more than one occasion), black bears, fish, insects and birds of all sorts.

The first photo on the left (top row) is of the ocean, the middle photo (top row) is of swamp water that ran alongside a public hiking trail and the photo on the right (top row) is of brackish water running through a drainage ditch.

It’s a long drive from the ocean to the next town, so planning ahead is a good idea. Caution is an even better idea. During one of my stops I was chatting with a local who explained what ‘brackish‘ water was, where alligators live, and how tourists will sometimes decide to go swimming in the swamp or ditch water they find along the road. Those tourists usually don’t come back out of the water – courtesy of the alligators who live there.

Dangerous and wild, though it may be, the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge is also amazingly beautiful. Every once in a while I would stop on the side of the road just to snap a few photos of the wildflowers that seem to thrive at random spots all along the highway running through the preserve.

It was while I was snapping photos of trees, leaves and flowers that I happened across this scary looking spider. As soon as I realized it was there something in me said ‘keep your distance!’ This could be the result of survival instinct, an effective use of markings on the (rather large) spider’s body, listening to entirely to many horror stories about spiders in the wild or some combination of any or all of the above. Whether my reaction was warranted or not, I took this photo from a distance and gave the creature a good wide and respectful space while hiking the trail back to my car.

If anyone knows what kind of spider this is, and whether or not it truly is dangerous, please post your much valued information in the comments!

(C) Adora Myers 2014

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