While on a recent trip to South Florida,I took a side trip with three friends. We visited the Everglades National Park,Shark Valley. No,it is not in the mountains,and there are no sharks... The Everglades is the largest tract of wilderness east of the Rocky Mountains. It protects more subtropical land and water than anywhere in the US. Shark Valley Park is just one of a few dozen parks to be found throughout the Everglades. www.nps.gov/PWR/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=ever&parkname=Everglades%20National%20Park
We set out early on a Sunday morning,and rented bicycles which took us on a 20 mile loop of the Park. Please be mindful(as I was not fully),that the terrain you are about to see,is only one tiny part of the various topographical representations to be found throughout the Everglades. These areas are known as 'hammocks'. We were much further inland,so the terrain is much more scrub like. The closer you get to the coast,the hammocks become more jungly,with many specimens of tropical flora. While, a tad disappointed,I did not see much of the tropical flora I had hoped to, I know I can go back to some of these areas on return visits.
Your photos are everything I wanted to see, casimira. When I went to Everglades National Park a number of years ago, there was a major drought and I had a hard time seeing water, much less alligators or other wildlife. Extremely disappointing. And I have also driven across Alligator Alley (I-75) at least 3 or 4 times in one direction or the other when I landed in Miami instead of Tampa to go see my parents, and I didn't see much.
But I have never given up and will return whenever I get a chance.
Oh my gosh -- these are fantastic! I have never been into the Everglades, and sort of dumbly assumed it would just be a vast expanse of the kind of terrain found around Lake Okeechobee, with none of the beautiful and subtle variations you show here. These are absolutely gorgeous and sensitive photos. Were you all on a raised walkway? You really got right up on the alligators and birds. So many gators! Is the stuff with the holes in it some kind of limestone, and is there a layer of it in parts of the Everglades? Sorry about all the questions, but this is so different and your photographs really show what a important part of the environment this area is and how fragile and delicately balanced. This is SO interesting.
You should go back Kerouac. I did really get into a zen mode on the bike,riding on a flat surfaced path for 20 miles...sometimes we were together,split up into twos,or alone. That was the nicest thing about it,one was not wedded to staying together.At the halfway mark there was an old wooden observation tower that was very cool. Big skies,lots of great clouds that day. I would not want to be there during mosquito season.... The round limestone holes are otter holes,and in some parts of the Everglades there are otters. The limestone,porous sedimentary rock is made of calcium and contain fossils of sea life,evidence of ancient seas that once covered the area. The limestone aquifer under the Everglades acts as the principal water recharge area for all South Florida. I don't know that I would go back to the same area again,would like to explore some of the mangrove swamps closer to the coast next time I think.
That's exceedingly interesting about the limestone layer. I'm pretty sure that is what is under the Yucatán Peninsula as well -- an area that has only underground rivers. The fossil-laden rock explains something else that fascinated me, & about which I never got an answer. I can't remember if it was Panama City or Fort Myers (maybe both) that has lots of stone facing on the 50s & 60s era buildings downtown. It's soft yellowish gray like limestone, and absolutely full of fossils.
Post by frenchmystiquetour on Jul 3, 2010 19:22:39 GMT
A few years ago while in Miami we drove I-75 to the west coast and did one of the airboat rides through the mangroves and saw manatees and loads of other wildlife. Our guide was a real colorful character who told us tales of the drug running days in this area in the 1980's and pointed out all the sunken boats that were once part of the operation (pretty sure one of those boats must have been his). It was loads of fun as he sped down narrow canals under the tree canopies surprising us with sharp turns on adjacent canals and just generally making it a very enjoyable day. Would like to do it again someday.
Also stopped at one of the tribal reservations and visited the Native American museum, which was fascinating too. Outside the museum was a tropical nature reserve. All the plants and trees were labeled and a little sign explained how each had various medicinal purposes to the natives. These people knew their medicines. They had herbal remedies for everything from the common cold, to arthritis, to glaucoma, to kidney and liver problems and even depression. I saw plants to cure hundreds of maladies and this was just a portion of the knowledge they once possessed. Universal healthcare provided by mother nature and without the health care "industry" price tag (or drug company profit motivation).
These are exceptional photos of the Everglades and bring back an intense rush of memories of my only visit there, when I was about 10. I thought it was exotic yet frightening, and I loved it. The bird photos are beautiful. How did you get so close to the alligators? I like the little one in number #3.
Wow Bixa,cool!! Thanks Jazz,it was a fun day. The alligators were just lying there,totally unphased by anyone or anything. Some were just basking right out in the middle of the bike path. I never saw one move.