Swamp walking in the Everglades is actually something I have wanted to try for a long time. In the last two years, I almost had a chance and then it would get cancelled at the last minute. This past January it all worked out! Thinking back, I was really lucky that we did this when we did. Who knew Hurricane Irma would blow through and change a lot of the scenery!
I had made reservations a week before. My good childhood friend Steve, said he would try swamp walking with me, Nadia, my daughter was not having any part of it. We showed up on a Saturday morning and checked in with the Ranger. (this was a ranger led tour in the Everglades National Park)
It was a cold Florida January Morning, like around 69 degrees LOL, but cold to me! After we checked in with the Ranger, we were all to meet near the Anhinga Trail.
Once it was time to meet up, the Ranger told us we were going to our cars and follow him down the road to the "Cathedral". This was where we were going to hike. The "Cathedral" was a mound of Cypress trees. He told us to be careful if we needed to grab onto a tree for balance, because snakes like to rest in the moss! "What!?" I was really starting to think about what I was getting myself into, because I am a bit uncoordinated. Needless to say, I was already worried about touching a gator with my shoe!
When we arrived at the spot, we just pulled over on the side of the road behind the Ranger's Van in a single file. We then were each given a walking stick to use for balance. In the above photo, see that mound in the distance? That is the Cathedral that we were going to hike into. I also thought we would use that trail; nope, we made our own trail.
As we started out, it was quite comical. Your feet would sink into the muck and then trying to get it out of the muck would make a "passing gas" sound. The muck really sucked your feet in, so make sure you are wearing tied shoes, like hiking boots. (NO Sandals).
|Outline of my shoe in the mud|
Just starting out, was so pretty to me. We saw many, many birds. It was amazing to me how these Great Wood Storks could sit on the top of the tree branches and not fall off! These are big birds!
As we ventured along, we started entering the "Cathedral".
The day we went, the highest the water went was up to my knees.
Inside the "Cathedral" were air plants and bromeliads.
It was beautiful in here, like an oasis.
There was a gator in here, but we stayed away from him.
We saw a Rosetta Spoonbill fly onto a tree.
We walked around and just admired the view and wildlife. This was a great place to find peace and to let your worries of the city melt away.
My friend Steve, making his way through the air plants and Cypress Trees with his crazy hat. LOL at least it would help authorities to find us if we got lost.
Above is a Bromeliad on a tree. Everything would really start blooming in the next month or so. Could you imagine how pretty it would look then, with orchids and bromeliads all in bloom?
This tour was about 2.5 hours long. We loved the walk and were glad that we did it.
Afterward, we walked along the Anhinga Trail.
Checkout this big gator!
We also saw some baby Anhingas
The evening was turning out nice
But when we went to see the Sunset, the rain clouds took over 😞
Even though, it was still a great day and an experience I will cherish always.
Please note: We went before Hurricane Irma hit Florida. Many areas of the Everglades are still closed, but here is a link to more information on the Slough Slog in case they offer a Ranger Led Tour soon: https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/sloughslog.htm
You should give it a try at least once.