|A trip through the Everglades.
Pictures, pictures and more pictures. Yes, I got carried away, but what the heck. Just be thankful I didn’t post ALL of them.
The route I took from Miami took me across Hwy 41 towards Naples. This route parallels the popular and more well know “Alligator Alley” a bit further north. Kyle had suggested Hwy 41 – otherwise known as the “Tamiami Trail” - due to the opportunity of seeing wildlife – specifically ‘gators.
From the web: “The Tamiami Trail is the beauty and the beast of Florida roads, a highway-time machine that passes through a paradise of primeval forests and toothy animals as well as canyons of strip-shopping malls and heart-stopping traffic. The Trail, which is the last 275 miles of highway US 41, connects Tampa with Miami.”
So, this section of hwy 41 also passes through the Big Cypress National Preserve, which seems to essentially be an extension of the Everglades National Park to the south.
All of the gator and bird pictures were taken within a stretch of only about 200 feet, which was near the Gallery. Some of the canal/vegetation pictures were taken prior to reaching the above spot, and simply shows how close the canal is to the roadway – as well as how close WE were to the critters.
Again, most of the gators were just lounging around on the bank, paying no attention to the birds that were just a few feet away. Once in awhile one of the birds would take a dive into the water for a meal, so there wasn’t a lot of activity otherwise.
A couple of the gator pictures looking straight on, was taken of a gator that was about 6 feet long, and swimming slowly towards me. Even though there was a guard rail between me and him, I didn’t stick around to see how fast he was! I have to say though, he only started moving towards me after I kneeled down to steady my hands on the guard rail post. Sort of gives you a feeling of being stalked.
The pictures of what looks like grass land with some trees beyond, were towards the end of the highway, as it approached Naples. We had to slow down for some line painting equipment, so gave me an opportunity to get a couple shots off through the passenger window. Otherwise, there really wasn’t any place to pull over.
There were also a number of everglade boat ride businesses along this route, and even a couple campgrounds. There is also a visitor center along this stretch, with a small boardwalk along the canal. I’d already seen and done that, so skipped it.
Weather wise, it was warm – in the low to mid 80’s the entire day. A bit toasty for us coasties.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I didn’t take in either more of the everglades, or the Keys while in the vicinity. For what it’s worth, my primary reason for being in this neck of the woods was to catch the shuttle launch, which, at the time of this writing, is still in it’s final countdown for Thursday, the 24th, at 4:50 p.m. So, I wanted to get back to make sure I was prepared and wouldn’t miss the launch, and didn’t feel I could do the Keys justice with a quick drive through. So will catch them another day. To quote one of my travel books – “When you first start out, don’t feel like you have to see everything on the first trip. It will always be there”.
Oh, almost forgot. As I was driving along, a car swerved in front of me to avoid what looked like some debris in the road. When I got up to that spot, it was actually a turtle crossing the road. He was about 10-12 inches across. That happened twice.