March 10, 2014
On Monday morning our departure from Key West was around 8:30am. We easily met our goal of reaching Collier Seminole State Park some 246 miles down the road. The ride coming out of the Keys was pretty uneventful. The traffic was light north bound.Everybody went home Sunday night, from the weekend. Oh, speaking of the weekend, it was the starting of spring break for the kids. Needless to say, there were thousands of them at Smathers Beach and Higgins Beach.
We made a quick stop at the Visitor Center, at Everglades National Park, to pickup a hiking stick pin, . I’ll try not to lose this one, like I did with last year’s pin, which I never got to install on my hiking stick. Soon the Everglades where behind us and Big Cypress National Preserve was going to be our adventure spot for today. Big Cypress is on Route 41, better known as “Alligator Alley”. We both had our fill of seeing Alligators last year and wanted something a little different. At the Big Cypress Visitor Center, we talked to the Park Ranger at the desk. I asked her if they were having a forest fire demonstration out back? “No” she said. They are training guys for a control burn later this spring. I asked here what could we visit in Big Cypress that would be different then watching alligators. She said, “If your going to spend the night, I would recommend going up to Collier/Seminole State Park, get a camping site and than drive back three miles to “Marsh Trail”. There you could walk the trail along the headwaters of Black Water river. There is plenty of wildlife and the special thing is to watch the hundreds of Ibis birds coming in and roosting for the night”.
Now last year we did a walk into the Everglades at night to watch the alligators feeding. I was a little leery, not so much of walking into, but coming out at night. “Oh well, adventure is what it is all about…lets go, Helen…you lead the way”. We were in the truck getting the camera stuff ready when I noticed a couple in the back of the camper taking a picture of “Baby Boomers on the Move”. They liked the logo and said they were close to retirement also. We walked together taking pictures of birds here and there. We also noticed a 10 foot Alligator in the river. Now, the interesting thing about the trail, was that it was clear of brush and plenty wide, but one could see these well marked trails that the gators had been using to cross from the river to the swamp side.
Luckily we met a “Birder” gentleman who gave us directions where to go and what to see. A short while later, we were standing on a two story tower with a perfect view of the sunset and the roosting birds. By the time we walked back to the camper, it was just getting dark. Sorry to report no encounters with alligators! Back at the campground we did see pictures of two panthers that were running around the lower part of the campground early last week.
Time to retire for the night. What a nice start to our travels out West!
That is what we did and saw!