Thursday, January 02, 2014

Everglades National Park

We went to Everglades National Park on the Friday after Christmas. Fun! Here's what we did:

1) First thing, drove to the end of the park road in Flamingo, ~40 miles from the entrance near Homestead.
2) Took a 105-minute guided boat tour.
3) On our way back out of the park, did two quick (less than a mile) boardwalk walks.

I thought a boat tour might be fun. The Everglades is a swamp, so touring by water is probably the best way to go, no? As far as Marla is concerned, she's done reasonably well on our train rides, so I figured a boat tour isn't really all that different, except that we couldn't really let Marla roam in the cabin. But, she did pretty well, all things considered. (Being able to bring food with us was key.)

It's hard to get pictures of wildlife if you want to actually enjoy the tour, but we saw several birds, one baby crocodile*, and lots of plant life that you don't see much anywhere else, of which the most interesting was an incredibly poisonous tree called the manchineel. (* - I'll have to take the guide's word that it was a crocodile and not an alligator. This is apparently the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist.)

There are many short boardwalk paths along the Main Park Road. We had time for two of these, including the "Anhinga" walk, which is both the most recommended and the easiest to get to (right near the entrance), and is therefore VERY popular.

If we had two days here, or if we didn't do the boat tour, we would have had time for most (probably all) of the Marla-friendly walks. But what we saw is fine. Although, I think if you really want to experience the Everglades, the thing to do is to get a canoe or kayak. There are also other park entrances; I've only ever been to the main entrance, but there are other areas accessible from US 41 (Tamiami Trail) on the north end of the park. There's a nice bike path at the Shark Valley Entrance, apparently.

The weather was warm, of course, given that the park is just north of the 25th parallel. (80°F, occasional light showers. Seriously, though, if I were a weatherman in Miami, I would be bored as hell.) It was certainly warm enough for shorts, if not for fears of mosquitoes...

Notice that the lowest level on the scale is not "no mosquitoes". There are always some mosquitoes. Apparently this was as good as it gets. Generally they were fine, no bug spray required, although we did get kind of swarmed once.

As much traveling as we've done, and even though I've been to 30 myself, Everglades National Park is only the 5th US national park Amber and I have visited together. We need to work on that. (Would have been 6, if not for that stupid government shutdown last October...)

1 comment:

Spartangoogle said...

Even with the polar vortex approaching it's only supposed to get down to 47 F in the Everglades tonight 1/6-7.