Thursday, March 25, 2010

... & finally the Everglades!

So it has now been about 1 month since we left for vacation... & I'm finally getting to finishing up our trip wrap up! 

So after finishing up in the Keys, our next adventure awaited in the Everglades.  We hit the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center first thing to find out what a newbie to the Everglades should take in.  We followed the advice of our visitor's center volunteer & headed to Royal Palm as our first stop.  It was filled with alligators & birds along our boardwalk path... & this was the first alligator siting of our visit!  (but not the last... and as Mike will tell you, I probably took over 100 pictures of alligators & crocodiles alone!  I never actually counted as I didn't need to quantify his mocking of my gator addiction!  But it is about the closest thing to seeing a dinosaur as we'll ever get... you gotta admit they are pretty cool!)
After leaving Royal Palm, we headed to the end of the road to the Flamingo Visitor Center where we could rent a canoe.  It was a windy day, so we opted to not go out on the ocean but head back up to 9 mile pond where we could canoe 5-6 miles through the pond & in the mangrove backwaters.  We had an alligator sunning at our canoe landing as we got in (& yes, I got his picture... several times).  We had a cool canoe trail through the mangroves, though there wasn't much wildlife to see after getting out of the main pond.  The mangrove area went on for a long time but was only a few feet deep.
Mike in the mangroves

Our loop was marked by numbered posts, which was fortunate as it would have been tough to know where to go through this mangrove pond!  The route back was skirting the mangrove tunnels as we paddled into a headwind...made for a challenging paddle!  Eventually we made it back to the main pond & found some friends taking in the late afternoon sun...

And as we got back to our canoe landing, the same gator from when we left was still there hanging out... it isn't a bad gig they have going!
After our canoe trip, we still had time for a quick 4-mile walk out to Snake Bight & a quick walk around the Mahogany Hammock before the sun set.

The next day we headed for the Shark Valley Visitor Center.  There is a 15 mile trail that goes down to an observation tower, so we decided to rent bikes & do the loop.
The path was a virtual menagerie of birds, alligators & crocodiles hanging out all along the way... even a little group of babies enjoying the sun!

This path was closed... according to the gator! We even got a little hiss out of him!

The ride back from the observation tower was into a headwind... always our luck!
After our big bike adventure, we grabbed a quick bite before jumping on our airboat...
... couldn't be in the Everglades & not take an airboat ride!

We were nearing the end of day 2 through the Everglades, but we had one more stop in us... the Big Cypress National Preserve.

We spent our last evening in Naples, getting to town just in time for one last Florida sunset.  It was a cool & breezy evening on the beach...

It was our best sunset of the trip!

After taking in our sunset & getting checking into our hotel, we walked a few doors down to a Mexican restaurant...
Cheers to a great trip... & a convenient walk back to the hotel!
We had a great vacation... despite cooler than normal temps, we made the most of it & saw a lot!  We put 1212 miles on our rental car in our 8 days & had a blast!

1 comment:

  1. Great Photos!!! It looks like you had a lot of fun in FL. I am glad Mike didn't get gobbled up by the Crocs!!! That one he is next to looks like he was eying Mike up pretty well. Hee hee.

    Take care,