Friday, June 30, 2017

The Everglades part II

We hit the road after 3 days and started our roadtrip through Florida by driving to the Mexico Bay via Highway 41 which crossed more of the Everglades and a National Reserve.  It's a long straight highway on a dike along a canal that has now and then some bridges to allow the waterflow from northern Florida further into the Everglades.

We stopped at the Shark Valley Visitor Center of the National Park.  Similarly as the other visitor Centers we had seen, it was extremely calm with very few other visitors at all. The famous tram ride at Shark Valley didn't seem to ride at all but we weren't going to trap Beertje on a 2h (30km) tram ride anyway so that was fine.
This time all of us dressed with long trousers, closed shoes and sleeved shirts and all fully sprayed with mosquito repellent, we started a walk along the principal walkway.  We could hear the mating call from alligators all around us, but they remained hidden under the trees invisible to our eyes.  Brown herons were on the other hand tanning and posing for us everywhere and other preying birds gave some demonstration flights above our heads.   Turtles were also tanning on some logs or in the grass side.

We were baking in the hot sun and I started to miss the rain already :D. After a while we turned around and returned and just at the point when I feared we would not have seen any alligator at all, we saw 2 babies crawling on the side of the road. Yeayy.











After our visit to Shark Valley we pulled over only a few kms further at the Miccosukee Indian Village. Centrally in the village there is a bassin full of alligators that you can watch close-up in a way that is (in wet season?) impossible to do in the wild. They also have a show where a native alligator wrestler shows how the tribe wrestles and captures alligators in the wild traditionally.  The native didn't quite look native at all and the "show" element felt a bit like some bad tourist entertainment.

But the rest of the village felt much more authentic and interesting with nice displays on cloth making, basket waving, cooking etc...and an interesting museum on the Miccosukee tribe history.









We continued our trip to the other side of the state, checking for wildlife that we saw along the road as road kills  but I swear we didn't hit this buddy.  We didn't spot the Florida panther although there were plenty of warning signs along the road.


By the time we approached the other coast again, the storms were building up again. 




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