Saturday, January 31, 2009

Everglades National Park

Before I moved here, I had an idea that "The Everglades" were just a national park in Florida somewhere. Now I know that the Greater Everglades ecosystem is an 18,000-square mile tapestry of rivers, lakes, sawgrass sloughs, cypress swamps and estuarine bays.A large portion of this is protected through more than 20 national and state parks, conservation areas, and wildlife refuges. Some is also privately owned. If you look at Google Maps or Google Earth, you'll see all the developed part of South Florida around the edges and then everything in the middle is the Everglades.
So I was under the impression that if you saw one part of the Everglades, you had seen it all. I was wrong. We finally got around to visiting Shark Valley, one of the areas of Everglades National Park. There is a small gift shop, some bathrooms, sign posts and a 14-mile paved loop. There is a tram, which we opted not to ride because of the two-hour commitment, and other choose to bike the loop or walk it. But before you get there, you'll see gators everywhere. Seriously, there was one fifteen feet from the entrance, partially blocking the road!
It was amazing. The flora and fauna, the scenery, the feel, the air, it was almost magical. Why didn't we go sooner? I'll never know. We'll be back soon, though.

1 comment:

MELISSA said...

Oh, man I've always wanted to visit the Everglades. Good to know it's such an interesting place!