Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday, Feb 8 - leaving the Everglades...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Still in the Everglades Nat'l Park, but closer to the main gate.  We moved camp last night to the campsites that are just 5 miles inside the main gate, rather than 38 miles!  Still no electric hookup, but lovely sites, each surrounded by some forest.  We were disappointed that there are no showers here, only toilets - oh well!  Last night the mosquitos had a field day - the worst we've had since being in the Everglades.  But, not unendurable - lots of them met their Maker, along with tons of little no-see-ums.  Once they came out, at dusk, we just stayed inside and avoided most of them.
Today, we went on a ranger-led bike tour of this part of the park - very different terrain that down in Flamingo.  There, the mangrove trees dominate.  Here there are areas of slash pine, very tall, very long needles, and not a very dense population.  Then, the pines will clear, and there are areas of prairie-type grass with occasional bunches of palmettos or willows.  Interesting ranger talk about the geologic, climate and fire as the reasons for the different terrain.
Yesterday, on our canoe trip down a canal in Flamingo, we saw several crocodiles - likely the only place in the world where you'll see both alligators and crocodiles together!  We got up close and personal with one croc - pictures to follow.  Later, we saw a large soft-shell turtle on the road.  We stopped, took pictures, and then Dan put him off in the brush and so likely saved his life.
We went on a ranger-led tour of the Nike missile site here.  Interesting - I lived through that history (Cuban missile crisis) and don't remember much about it.  Learned that, before Kruschev sent the missiles to be installed in Cuba, we established a base in Turkey with secret missiles pointed at Russia.  Hmmmm.
Tomorrow morning, we're heading on down towards the Florida Keys. Can't wait!

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