Monday, December 07, 2009

Greetings From ... Florida!

After leaving Huntington Beach on November 21st, I kind of went into a funk. The muse departed - I didn't feel like writing and it would be nine days before I'd shoot another picture! The weather just wasn't conducive to picture taking – cloudy, gray days intermingled with rain, and more clouds. Besides, I was on the move, traveling south to a warmer climate. My mother used to say “Be careful what you wish for little girl, you might just get it!” Oh, so true.

But first, Georgia. Yep, went through it. I was hoping to stay at a State Park south of Brunswick but they were booked up through the Thanksgiving weekend. I called another park near Okefenokee but they were filled too. Gave up on that and went into Florida. No luck there with the state parks either. I called half a dozen of them that were on my route south (roughly just west of the Interstate 75 corridor) and their campgrounds were all full through Thanksgiving weekend as well. So, I just kept going south towards my ultimate destination, Everglades National Park, where I arrived on Monday, November 30th. It was probably a good thing that I didn't get there earlier. They had a pretty severe thunderstorm, with high winds, sweep through the area Thanksgiving night. A couple of RV'rs lost their awnings to the winds.

Well, I got my wish – warmer weather! It has been in the upper 80s during the day and not much cooler during the night. And humid, oh my. So hot and humid it's sweltering. A couple of nights it has rained off and on. Thursday it rained most of the night. At the visitor center they told me it was good to be here this time of year – at the start of the dry season. Hah! Well, even with the heat and humidity, it has been an interesting visit. It is a fascinating habitat with a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. I've seen lots of trees and plants and birds and a few alligators.

On Wednesday, I took a boat trip out into Florida Bay and, aside from the birds, the only wildlife we saw was one dolphin, which jumped out of the water three times near the aft engines. That was it. Still, it was an enjoyable ride. The cool breeze onboard the boat was nice. And the tour guide had a sense of humor. As we were coming upon a turn out of the channel into the bay, there was a tall buoy that had half a dozen terns sitting atop it. He said that it was our tern signal. [big groan]

A free, Ranger Guided Canoe Trip was offered on Saturday morning through the Flamingo Visitors Center so on Thursday I moved from the Long Pine Key Campground to the one at Flamingo. After spending a sweltering night in the van (and I do mean sweltering, I was sweating so much that it steamed over the windows) I began to wonder if I'd made a mistake.

But after the three-hour trip was over, I concluded that it was well worth the wait. Although, in all honesty, the six days spent here was about three days too long!

There were no pictures taken during the canoe trip since I really didn't want to take the chance of losing my camera in a spill. The Ranger said it doesn't happen often, but it does happen and they aren't responsible in case of a loss.

Anhingas – one drying it's wings so it can fly and another sitting on it's nest. December 1, 2009.

I love it how the alligators seem to be smiling at you! December 1, 2009.

Sunset over the pond at Long Pine Key Campground. December 1, 2009.

Some kind of stork at Coot's Bay Pond, midway between Long Pine Key and Flamingo. December 2, 2009.

Sunset over the Flamingo Campground. December 5, 2009. Long Pine Key was just a few miles from the park entrance while Flamingo was a little over 40 miles.

Posted from the Homestead [Florida] Branch Library thanks to their free WiFi, which is greatly appreciated.


Carol said...

Becky, look up this

I believe it is an Egret

FAB photos!!

Apple said...

It's a shame that the weather hasn't cooperated and the other parks were full. I hope you find a spot soon that you fall in love with. I've been wishing I were in Florida since it got cold here.

Kathryn Doyle said...

Gorgeous photos. I'm loving every minute of your trip. Major blizzard heading east which left snow on the ground in the Bay Area so that should make the humidity a little more bearable! I saw Denise's note to you on Facebook. I hope you two can meet up!