I myself am not a nature person. I didn’t grow up in an outdoorsy family. I’ve never been camping or trekked out into the wild. That’s not to say that the wild has never found me.
When I was 22 I was driving from Orlando, Florida to Gainesville, Florida to surprise my then boyfriend (and my now husband). It was midnight and I was driving on I-75. The stretch of I-75 right before Gainesville is an undeveloped marshy area called Paines Prairie, it’s a nature preserve with the highway going right through it.
So, I’m 22, I’m driving at midnight through Paines Prairie on I-75 with not a soul on the road except for the occasional semi. About 45 minutes outside of Gainesville, I see something in the road up ahead of me. It looked like a large refrigerator box in the lane that I was in. Since no one is on the road, I start slowly drifting into the other lane so I don’t hit this refrigerator box. And when I’m halfway in one lane and halfway out of the other, the refrigerator box moves. It opens its mouth. I say it opens its mouth because it wasn’t a large refrigerator box, it was actually a giant 8 foot bull gator horizontally positioned and taking up the whole lane. I freeze while I’m driving 70 mph down I-75 straddling 2 lanes. At the last second, I pull myself together and swerve out of the alligator’s lane. My headlights hit him at an angle that lights up its whole head and I see is his giant mouth open and all his giant teeth shining and then thump. Well, more like thump, thump, thump.
I ran over his head. I felt my bumper tear off of my car. I don’t know what to do. I’m absolutely panicked and scared. I’m still driving down the middle of the road. Did I kill him? Do I stop to see if my car is ok? Do I stop to see if he’s ok? The only sane answer to that is “Hell no!” It’s a giant alligator, near a marsh full of other giant alligators
It is an animal so I did feel bad. I try to convince myself that maybe I just got the tip of his nose or something, maybe I just knocked him a little bit. I look in my rear view mirror to see if he’s crawling away, I don’t see that. What I do see is a convoy of semi’s running over the alligator and rendering into an unrecognizable carcass.
So, I’ve never been camping, but I have killed an alligator all by myself.