When Andy and I road tripped down south in our RV, Florida’s Everglades National Park was high on our list of places to see. Florida didn’t impress us over all, but we loved swimming in the ocean when we visited Delray Beach, exploring some state parks further inland, and watching the shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral.
The Everglades: oh my goodness, how to sum it up? Despite being in the warm, southern climate, I was in my usual winter state and so would love to visit again at a different time of year. It was gorgeous, though, and I’m so glad we made this the second national park stop on our trip.
We saw more diverse wildlife than I’ve ever seen in one spot: alligators, dolphins, cranes, cormorants, and turtles, to name a few.
From the NPS website:
The park is home to a vast array of animals that have adapted to a subtropical environment in which temperate climatic conditions, characteristic of latitudes to the north, merge with tropical Caribbean conditions. The winter dry season, which lasts from December to April, is the best time for wildlife viewing in the park. Weather conditions are generally pleasant during the winter and standing water levels are low, causing wildlife to congregate at central water locations.
Female alligators will vehemently protect their nests and their young until they reach one to two years of age. Keep your eyes out for baby alligators in the Everglades – they’re about a foot long with yellow stripes.
We kept our eyes out all right. That alligator tidbit couldn’t have proven more true:That little guy above was part of a whole little nest that we stumbled onto. They were alone for a few minutes, and Andy managed to get this picture right before the mama gator came back: That excitement was all on our first day in the Everglades. The next day, Andy and I did something rather uncharacteristic and signed up for a canoe tour of the Ten Thousand Islands. Neither of us could remember the last time we’d paddled a canoe, but hey, we were in the Everglades! Plus we were nearing the end of our 3 1/2 month road trip and needed a little bit of an adventure. It took us a few minutes to get the hang of working together and coordinating our movements, but it worked out eventually 🙂 Our tour was led by one guide and included about eight other couples. We paddled around the islands, watched for wildlife, admired the mangrove trees, and even stopped on a little island for lunch. Oh man, I love being on or near the water! These photos are nice motivators to plan something boat-oriented in the near future.
No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs–anything–but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly. –Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
This is Nature’s own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended. –John Muir, Our National Parks