Florida State Flag

Florida

Day 2 - 21st May 2012

Florida State Flag

Everglades National Park 

Trails, boardwalks & meeting the locals

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For the first four nights we stayed in Florida City and used it as a base to explore the southern part the Everglades and some of the southernmost parts of Florida itself.

Day one saw us head into the Everglades via the Ernest Coe entrance to walk a number of short trails and boardwalks; including the Anhinga Trail, Gumbo Limbo Trail, West Lake & Pa-hay-okee Overlook, before we ended in Flamingo on the southern tip of mainland Florida between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Our wheels for the first half of the trip, after years of forgetting to pre-order a US muscle car, we finally got one, a Ford Mustang.

Tropical Storm Beryl and the daily thunderstorms meant that we didn't have the top down most of the time and the tiny boot due to the convertible roof meant that I had to empty my bag into several bin-liners to be able to fit all my clothes in the boot, however it was still an absolute beauty...

Ford Mustang



A warning sign at one of the trailhead car parks, that vultures may damage our car...

Vulture warning



Miche at the trailheads...

Anhinga - Gumbo Limbo



Only a youngster, but still our first 'gator of the trip...




A bigger relative not far away...




Red-Bellied Turtle takes a peak...




Overhead close-up of a Florida Gar...




Mid-morning cloud reflections as the temperature rose steadily to a chorus of loud Pig Frog calls - which sounded just like, er... pigs...




Unusual flowers...




Fancy a paddle? There are two 7+ feet alligators in this picture - not too easy to spot...

Spot the 2 'gators



One of them, up-close...




A pair of Florida gar, ancient pike-like predators...




Largemouth Bass in the shallows...




Ibis...




Lizard near the entrance to the Gumbo Limbo trail. Gumbo Limbo is a trail through boggy woodland and was full of mosquitoes, we pretty much ran round without looking at anything at any length to cut down on the number of bites.




Miche in the car at Flamingo to avoid the skeeters - she'd taken quite a munching on the walk to the visitor centre and over lunch - however, they followed us into the car and we'd have to swot them as we drove along. Other than the mozzies there were vultures and fish eagles.

At Flamingo



A very bold moulting Anole lizard flashes his dewlap on the boardwalk at the Pa-hay-okee Overlook...




Another flashy Anole at the Ernest Coe Visitor Centre, hidden...




... there you go...




Me with my eyes shut at the Robert is Here fruit stand enjoying an enormous Key Lime smoothie. They had amazing fruits, which you could see being harvested by hand in the surrounding fields...




Purple Martin chick awaiting a feed...




An obliging parent looks at me sternly...




Farmers Market Restaurant in Florida City where we ate on a couple of nights and had the place to ourselves most of the time, however the food was home-cooked and fresh as the owners are fishermen and the restaurant is bizarrely located behind industrial estate gates next to a huge fruit and veg warehouse...




Each evening we'd have a chorus outside our motel room of what sounded like huge animals, but turned out to be either a tiny lizard or, loudest of all, this small frog. When it rained (daily) the car park filled with small froglets.



Next stop - day 3 - Florida Keys

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Day 1 - Travel Day 2 - Everglades NP Day 3 - Florida Keys 
Day 4 - Biscayne NP Day 5 - Shark Valley Day 6 - Kayak & Boat
Day 7 - Fossil Hunting Day 8 - Manatees part 1 Day 9 - Manatees part 2
Day 10 - Memphis Day 11 - Memphis to Gatlinburg Day 12 - Dollywood
Day 13 - Cades Cove Day 14 - Mount LeConte Day 15 - Gatlinburg to DC
Day 16 - Washington Day 17 - Smithsonian