The Everglades

Could there be a better start to a day than this?
Sunrise
I don’t think so.
We pulled out of Island Christian School early on Friday, heading north. There was a full day ahead of us, and it was truly a blessing to see such a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.
Our first stop of the day – The Waffle House.
Here’s a quick travel tip – Several years ago I had assured Gary that I never needed to go to another Waffle House. Everything I seemed to order was swimming in grease. Blech. But here’s the trick – if you go to The Waffle House, order WAFFLES! They’re really pretty good and not greasy at all. I love it when I finally figure out these basics of life. 🙂
Next stop – The Everglades and the Shark Valley Visitor Center.
Everglades Alligators-4
Although we are basically pretty cheap thrifty when it comes to spending our tourist dollars, we decided to splurge on the 15 mile tram ride that wandered through the ‘glades. (It was pretty darn cold, and we decided to hold off on the whole airboat plan.) The tram ride was excellent – lots of alligators, beautiful birds, and information about the Everglades. The fact that my camera displayed the “change battery pack” message once the tram started moving was not so excellent. Thankfully Gordon and Marlene had joined us for the excursion and Marlene’s camera was busy clicking away.
Everglade birds-2
Great Blue Heron
everglade bird
Snowy Egret
Everglade birds-1
Belted Kingfisher
Everglade birds-7
Male Anhinga (with his beautiful turquoise eyes)
Purple gallinule
Purple Gallinule
Everglade birds-10
Wood Stork
And then there were the alligators –
Everglades Alligators-5
Here’s a mama and her babies
Everglades Alligators-2
A great bunch of them in a pool by the Shark Valley Observation Tower
Everglades Alligators-3
And there were lots that were just out catchin’ some rays. (Which actually is what they do most of the time!)
Here’s a shot from the top of the tower (at the half-way point on the tram ride)
Everglade tower view
The Everglades is (are?) an amazing area, where just a couple of inches of “rise” changes the entire ecosystem. It was a very interesting day. And the best part is that after we had some lunch it had warmed up enough for us to indulge in an Airboat ride!
DSCN3843_edited-1
It was fast and loud
Mar and Gord
but after all, they did supply you with cotton balls for your ears!
Everglade Airboat ride-1
This is the canal where the boat ride started, but soon we were skimming over a sea of grass –
Everglade Airboat ride-13
Everglade Airboat
The one stop we made was at a “made for tourist” village to represent how the Miccosukee tribe had lived in the past –
Everglade Airboat ride-8
and the view from the dock really spoke to me about the beauty of the Everglades –
Everglade Airboat ride-9
What a great day! A wonderful reminder of the diversity of God’s creation, a very special day spent with new friends, and a better understanding of an area of the country I have only ever driven through. If you ever get the chance, check it out.
The alligators want to say hello!
Everglades Alligators-1

If you’d like to see more bird, alligator and boat ride pictures – check them out HERE. And special thanks to Marlene who took most of these, but let me play with her camera for part of the boat ride. She’s a keeper for sure!

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