Friday, March 06, 2009

The Everglades

We stayed at a motel in Florida City for our visit to The Everglades. Florida City is just a big truckstop, strip malls, motels and burger joints but it is cheap and convenient for the national park.

We had a full day to explore the Everglades. There are two entrances into the park, the southern entrance and the northern Shark Valley entrance. We decided to head to Shark Valley as we had read good things about that side of the park and the possibility of seeing wildlife.

We hired bikes at the park entrance and cycled down into the park using the established trail system. There is in fact a 15 mile loop you can ride, but the sun was hot and the wind strong so we didn't go that far !

The views around this side of the park were perhaps less interesting than we had imagined. It reminded us of The Fens in the UK. Flat, bush with streams & ponds. The only difference is that there's more sun in the Everglades and less alligators in The Fens.

There were quite a lot of birds in the park, including a number of these tall birds - possibly storks of some variety ?

As you can hear on this clip it was very breezy in the park when we were there.

Then there were alligators. Lots of them. In the words of the Park Ranger 'don't ride over their tails, they're not speed bumps'. He kind of had to give that advice as they were literally lying on the trails, banks and in and out of the ponds and streams. Mostly they were very lethargic as it was winter and they are coldblooded so they don't do alot apart from bask in the sun that there was.

Them there is big teeth

We also saw a 'nest' (if that's the right term ?) of baby alligators. Tempting as it was to pick one up we happily resisted - we knew mum wouldn't be far away

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