13-year-old Brianna Fogel joined her grandfather Richard Forman and staff from The Nature Conservancy on a trek to the remotest spot in Hockomock Swamp this summer. Was the swamp what she expected? She reports back in this photo essay.
When we stepped out of the car and I looked at what we had to get through, I was shocked. I said, “Is this really what we have to go through?” There were so many plants so close together, it looked impossible.
But somehow we managed and started weed whacking away. My grandfather was first, I was usually next, and the rest followed. I felt like I was in a jungle.
Every 200 feet or so, we took a break and did some observations. We had to duck under and push away shrubs most of the time. You couldn’t see very far sometimes.
About half of the swamp had buried logs in the muck from ancient fallen trees, and my grandfather looked for them with a tree corer.
At every stop there were at least one or two tree holes where animals could live.
Deeper into the swamp, moss was everywhere. I was so excited to see beds and beds of moss that I couldn’t help but lie down in them every time we took a break. The moss had to be my favorite part – it was like a fairy world.
Hockomock Swamp was nothing like I expected. I thought it would be really muggy and buggy and have pools of water everywhere, but it was nothing like that at all. I was amazed that there were no water pools. We only got wet from the plants; it had rained the night before. Oh did we get soaked!
My grandfather seems to think there were almost no deerflies except when we were walking along an abandoned railroad, where billions seemed to find us. For me in the swamp there were almost always a few buzzing around my head, but they never bit us.
I think that it was easier getting into the swamp than it was getting out. We seemed to be going in a zigzag path, listening for traffic. It is very easy to get lost in a swamp.
Once we got out of the swamp, everyone was exhausted and soaked. If anyone ever gets the chance to go to Hockomock, then GO! I’m sure you’ll have fun. Swamps are much different than I thought they were. They are very interesting, and tiring! It would be great to go again, but next time I will bring a friend.