Spring is really starting to come alive here in the Northeast. You really should checkout the local swamps or marshes, (regardless of size) to watch nature spring to life.
Prepare to get wet feet.
Swamps and marshes are by their very nature soggy. So prepare your footwear and keep and extra pair of socks in the car. It’s also a good idea to bring along two pairs of shoes. One that you travel in, and the other to hike with. Putting the used hiking shoes in a plastic bag after the hike will help keep the mud somewhat controlled in your vehicle.
2. Move slowly.
There are a lot of critters in the swamp. Every one of them on high alert so as not to become dinner for a larger critter. So you will need to move slowly. You will probably miss more animals than you will see, but your chances improve greatly with a little stealth. Camo can help, but if you are moving quickly you will be as obvious as a moose in a cabbage patch.
3. A word about snakes.
Yes- you will find snakes and many time in abundance in the swamp. Depending on where you are in the country some of them may be venomous. So research the area you will be in and prepare accordingly. The more slowly you move the better chances of you seeing one.
There really is no need to fear these wiggly critters. They are just trying to get by like everyone else. NEVER try to handle a snake unless you are absolutely sure what kind it is. By the way, even the so called “harmless” snakes can be pretty nasty and inflict an unwanted bite. So be aware and don’t fear.
Depending on the time of year, prepare for bugs. Mosquitos, Black Flies, Horse flies, as well as a multitude of others. This is just part of the experience, and you will get used to it.
A little prep goes a long way, but will not eliminate your bug encounter. Repellent is a must. Head netting and clothing that covers all exposed skin is recommended, but not always required. It really depends on the day.
5. Use caution when traversing the water.
This is where things can be tricky or outright dangerous. If you decide to wade in the weeds, use the utmost caution. Swamp beds are unpredictable and what may look like solid footing may actually be a mud pot which can go up to your knees.
There is a high risk of drowning as the water may not “seem” deep, but beware. You can easily find yourself in a situation with no escape without help. The best thing to do is stay out of the water unless you are experienced in this sort of trekking.
Swamps and marshes are amazing places to explore. They do have their downsides, but those are all part of the experience. So get out and enjoy the wonderful abundance of life that these spaces have to offer.