Marie McAden



Night walk in a swamp forest

Posted 10/25/2012 5:43:00 AM

If you think a swamp is spooky by day, try walking through one at night. There’s the hoo, hoo, too-hoo of a barred owl echoing in the trees, bats swooping through the night sky, the beady red eyes of an alligator glowing on the water’s surface. It’s enough to unnerve the pluckiest of adventurers. 

Sound like fun? Sign up for a night walk with a naturalist at the Audubon Center at Beidler Forest. Once a month a member of the staff will lead a tour along the sanctuary’s 1.75-mile boardwalk, taking you deep into the old growth woods.

You’ll stroll past huge moonlight-silhouetted bald cypress — some more than 1,000 years old. Along the way, the guide will identify the animals and birds squeaking, buzzing and splashing in the swamp.

With the light from the stars and moon, you’ll make your way out to Goodson Lake, part of the Four Holes Swamp, a 45,000-acre matrix of blackwater sloughs and lakes, shallow bottomland hardwoods and deep bald cypress and tupelo gum flats. To really creep you out, the guide will shine a flashlight on the blackwater, illuminating the gleaming eyes of gators and spiders. Oh, my!

Upcoming night walks are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 6 p.m. Nov. 24 and 5 p.m. Dec. 22. Cost is $10 and reservations are required. For more information, call (843) 462-2150 or click here.

Located about an hour from Columbia and Charleston off Interstate 26, the 16,000-acre Audubon Center at Beidler Forest boasts the world’s largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for kids 6 to 12; free for children 5 and younger.