"" Writer's Wanderings: A Day In The Glades

Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Day In The Glades

The Florida Everglades is an amazing treasure of natural beauty. When our Ohio son and daughter-in-law invited us to join them in exploring we jumped at the chance not only to be with them but to hopefully enjoy a day full of discovery together. We met them at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center just before the entrance to the park. Being Martin Luther King day, the park entrance was free although we have a senior pass which would have allowed our car entry.

The weather was perfect and there was not a mosquito to be found, thank goodness. Not long into our journey we saw a couple of cars pulled to the side of the road. Sure enough there was an alligator out enjoying the sunny weather. It had been quite chilly, downright cold if you asked a Floridian, for several days and we expected that the reptile population would be taking advantage of the warm sun. This large guy was no exception.

After commenting how close those people were standing to the alligator and how that really wasn't safe, Bob and our son got out of the car and walked closer to it. Meanwhile, the girls stayed in the car and had our phones at the ready should we get a good video of the two of them running. Alligators may look sleepy and calm and too heavy to move fast but they are not. The four legged critters with the sly smile can run up to 35 MPH on land. This one just wanted to sleep and didn't seem bothered by the attention.

We were a little disappointed in the number of birds we saw. Usually there are a lot more and close enough to observe. We did get a close view of a large blue heron fishing and an anhinga but even the anhingas which used to be plentiful near the trails were scarce. Maybe there were too many people although it didn't seem that crowded except for the Anhinga Trail we walked later in the day.

At several places along the way out to the Flamingo Visitor Center at the other end of the main road, we stopped and walked the trails. While we didn't see a whole lot, it was very pleasant walking on the shaded paths. Looking up into a tree full of red berries, we found we weren't the only robins coming south for the winter.

At the Flamingo Visitor Center, there is a marina, a gift shop with sundries for campers, and a food truck! We've eaten there before and it's always been good. This day was no exception. A hamburger, sweet Italian sausage on hoagies with grilled onions and even the grilled cheese sandwich was wonderful. 

After we satisfied the appetite we'd built up with all that exploring, we walked around the marina area and watched several manatees. One of them was a momma with a very young baby on her back. I'm wondering how young the baby was. Baby manatees can't swim when first born so momma has to help them to the surface to breath. She carried the baby quite a ways and we never saw her submerge.

We drove back to the area closer to the entrance to the park which is called the Royal Palm Visitor Center. There is where the popular Anhinga Trail is and where you can almost always encounter an alligator. It was a popular place this day but it didn't seem to bother the alligators who were out sunning themselves. A couple were very close to the trail or right on it and certainly made several of us very nervous as we watched people getting closer and closer to them to get selfies. Warning: the alligators are not tame or domesticated. 

It was a full day at the Glades and we headed back to the condo in Key Largo where our son and his wife joined us for the sunset and dinner after. So much fun being able to spend a day enjoying life with them.

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