Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friday, February 4 - to the Everglades!

Florida Bay from the Flamingo Visitor Center

turkey vulture, looking for a handout

turkey vultures - a constant presence!

pretty little birds - I think egrets?

Florida Bay

Dan talking to the ranger man

Last night, in Naples, we saw a sign "Pelican Nursery".  First thought was a visual of a little baby pelican being given little tiny fish, of being taught to clip a fishing line to take the fish away from the fisherman...then, sanity slipped in and we realized (probably Dan, before me, if I'm being honest) that it was just a nursery business for plants, called Pelican..!
This morning we woke up in Naples to 75 degree weather - heaven!  It was cloudy, but felt so nice.  Later, the sun came out - yippee!
Our destination this evening is the furthest southern point in the Everglades National Park, a campground called Flamingo.  We met a guy this morning who said he'd been there: "Oh yes, that's really out in the middle of nowhere!"  It's funny, weeks ago when we were planning this trip, we read about this place, and decided that it sounds really cool and that there's lots to do there.  So, we made reservations for 4 nights - now, we can't remember what we read about it!  I do remember that you get to the Visitor's Center at the beginning of the park, and then drive to the very end of the road, 38 miles away!  Should be really interesting.  I'm hoping for some ranger talks, hikes, maybe kayak trips. It'll be nice not to have to move for a few days.
The terrain today, as we drove along Tamiami Trail, US-41, across the everglades, we saw really interesting and varied terrain.  We also saw a number of signs indicating that panthers cross here...?  We haven't seen one yet, but we've got our eyes peeled!  Quite a few places along the 2 lane road that offer airboat rides out into the swamp.  We did see one squished alligator....  Once we got to the end of US-41, and turned right headed into Miami, Homestead, and the like, there were acres and acres of farmland - mostly corn or tomatoes.
We have now entered the Everglades Park.  It's 38 miles now, and the sun has set.  The land is very flat, with areas of grass bounded by treed areas - not the palm trees that you might expect, but some sort of deciduous trees mixed with pines.  There are pulloffs once in a while with signs that tell you about what is seen - unfortunately, tonight we are anxious to get to the campsite.  We just saw a sign that we are now at an elevation of 3 feet!  I'm helping to keep an eye out for deer - hitting one would really ruin our evening!  We are seeing the occasional oncoming vehicle, but, mostly, we are out here n the two lane road alone.  This is probably a birder's paradise - we're seeing lots of them,

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