After our cruise our next outing would be to Everglades National Park, a place we often visit when we are in southern Florida.Not far from our resort is our very favorite place to visit there which is Shark Valley. We didn’t bring our bikes this time around to ride the nearly 17 miles of trail but instead opted to hike several miles into the park.
The park is always crowded this time of year and the day we chose to go was no exception. A sign outside the front of the park entrance indicated the parking lot was full. Of course we realized this well before our arrival as there were rows of cars parked all alongside route 41 outside the entrance.
We found a spot not too far from the entrance and walked to the main gate where the ranger requested to see our National Parks Pass which granted us free admission. Another short walk and we were at the Tram Station where some chose to pay for a tram ride around the park but we decided we would rather walk this day.
Immediately after entering the trail we began seeing American Alligators. Even though it was a bit cooler than when we normally visit this park there were still an abundance of Alligators.Each alligator had marked his spot to leisurely warm up in the sun. Unfortunately the other thing we always see among the alligators are some tourist “IDIOTS” in the park. The trail we walk takes visitors very close to a drainage area which is is frequented by these Alligators. The Alligators will often be partly on the paved trail and of course IDIOTS wanting selfies will often cozy up right next to one of them. We even saw one IDIOT touch the tail of an Alligator…. Sigh…Yet another was walking by each alligator snapping his fingers and yelling, "wake up". Sharon had enough of that and told him to cut it out. People amaze us sometimes.
We also were excited to watch many of the birds endemic to the area. We loved how close we could get to the birds without disturbing them. We spent a good deal of time watching a Tri-colored Heron spearing small fish along the water’s edge. An Anhinga nearby was gulping down a fairly large sized fish which also kept us entertained for a while.
We really enjoyed our stroll in Shark Valley and were glad to have the chance to see so much wildlife. Hopefully we will find time to return once more before we head out of Florida in March…
NOTE: We are now in our winter home until March 1st in Bonita Springs Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates RV park and Coop.