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The Green Life: Tracking TrekEast: Week 9

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June 06, 2011

Tracking TrekEast: Week 9

TrekEastTrekeast John Davis's TrekEast adventure from Florida's Everglades to Canada's Gaspe Peninsula has as its goal to raise awareness of the East's remaining wild places, and to inspire people to help protect them. We at the Green Life are logging weekly updates of Davis's progress as he completes his 4,500-mile, human-powered trek.

Week 9 of TrekEast began with Davis warning traveling bears to steer clear of Atlanta, Jackson, and Macon, and aim for the safety of Oconee National Forest and Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. "If people are kind enough to you," he wrote along the way, "perhaps they will expand and reconnect the various wildlands in this area and make Georgia a safer place for you."

Davis cycled through the middle of Georgia, stopping at Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where large gators live, and part of a proposed national park. He got his first flat tire of the trek, but still managed to cover more than 100 miles, and rescue a turtle on his way to Georgia's coast. Upon reaching Sapelo Island, Davis swam along one of the wildest beaches he's visited in the east, and enjoyed miles of sand surrounded by maritime forest and live oaks. "A little bit sun-baked," a red-faced Davis reported from the island," but happy as a well-fed pelican to be here on a natural beach."

The adventurer hopped back on his bike, riding up to Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 29,000 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, and bottomland hardwoods. As he neared South Carolina, he concluded that too much of Georgia is given over to industrial forestry. But thanks to the hard work of generations of conservationists, much of the state's coast remains natural. 

And talk of efforts to expand the Ocmulgee National Monument and connect it to the Oconee National Forest gives Davis hope that one day, middle Georgia could once again accommodate wide-ranging species. 

Davis's first impressions of South Carolina? The Low Country has gorgeous scenery (including the alligator-abundant Ace Basin) but the main roads have deadly traffic. The total number of GPS miles traveled by the end of Week 9: more than 1,500. 

--Molly Oleson / photo courtesy Wildlands Network

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