As promised, here is my post on our trip to the Everglades. We left here about 8:15 hoping to avoid a lot of traffic—which we did. We went down I 75 to Naples and headed south to 41, the Tamiami Trail. On Wednesday, SW Florida got lots and lots and in some cases, LOTS of rain. Around Naples, they got 5 to 6 inches. So the Everglades had a lot more standing water than I had seen in the past.
Our first stop was Big Cypress Bend in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. This is “A 2,000-foot-long boardwalk winds through virgin cypress enabling visitors to experience the beauty of this unusual swamp”. We were introduced to the walk a few years ago when we took a guided tour of the Everglades. It is a beautiful walk with huge old cypress trees, Royal Palms,
ferns, air plants, and even an eagle nest. At the end of the boardwalk is a pond where a mama alligator and her offspring live. Apparently Papa visits every once in awhile just long enough to make new babies then she kicks him out. We did catch sight of her and 2 of the babies. We also caught a glimpse of mama or papa Eagle sitting on the nest.
From there, we drove to Monroe Station where we took the 29 mile gravel loop road through gorgeous country. Last time we took this road, it was not during “season” so we had the road to ourselves. The water wasn’t as high either and we saw tons and tons of alligators, some right up on the road. This time, there was a lot more traffic and fewer alligators but it was still beautiful.
The loop comes out right at the Miccosukee Indian Village. We decided we had seen enough alligators and didn’t need to pay to see any. So we drove about 5 miles down the road to Shark Valley. No, there aren’t any sharks in Shark Valley. It is a visitor center in the Everglades and you can ride your bike around a 15 mile loop road or take the tram which runs every hour and lasts for 2 hours. We got there at 2:45 and the 3:00 tram was already full. That meant waiting until 4:00 and not getting out until 6:00. Since we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we decided to take a short walk then head back to Everglades City for dinner. On our little walk, we happened on a ranger who was guarding a mama alligator on one side of the road and her babies on the other. I think, actually, she was guarding the stupid tourists who don’t understand alligators and would probably try to get up close and personal with the babies and get even closer and more personal with mama because of it!!
Anyway, back on 41 towards Naples to the Everglades City cutoff. Everglades City had a tornado Wednesday night but there was no sign of it whatsoever. We ate at the Everglades Seafood Depot Restaurant. We all had grouper, coconut shrimp or crabcakes. (We could have a choice of two.) We ate outside overlooking the water, the birds, and the airboats. Gorgeous view. And the food wasn’t too bad either.
Then back home to crash. We drove (rather, Mr. Snowbird drove) almost exactly 300 miles yesterday. The weather was great and we saw lots and lots of wildlife. Another great day in Paradise.