Florida Day One. The Everglades: Anhinga And Gumbo Llmbo Trail Hikes

Florida Day One. The Everglades: Anhinga And Gumbo Llmbo Trail Hikes

alligator with mouth open
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After a one hour drive from the Fort Lauderdale Airport I arrived  at the Florida City Best Western Hotel. I was glad to have a room available. I checked in and  was soon on my way to visit the Everglades National park under warm but overcast skies. clouds over fields Florida City

I drove out of this small agricultural town and soon came to the many fields were a variety of  vegetables are grown.tomato plants Florida City

I have been here twice before and there is always a different crop in season. This time it was yellow squash and tomatoes.yellow squash harvest

There was no meal served on my airplane flight so I was hungry.  I  found this nice little local eatery, the Everglades Gator Grill,  and decided to stop for a quick late lunch.Everglades Gator Grill Florida City

I had a nice chat with the local cook and waitress while I waited for a delicious grilled grouper sandwich. chef at Gator Grill

I drove the familiar nine miles and soon entered one of my favorite National park. I hope to get into some more  history in later posts but just want to get some photographs posted for now.Entrance to Everglades National park

I paid my admission fee, a well spent $20, and drove out a few miles to the Anhinga Trail. Here is a link to some more photos from my drive to the park. Everglades Day One Drive to Anhinga.  drive to Everglades

The visitor center is located on a large hammock, a high point in the grassy river that is the Everglades. clouds and water lily covered pond

Nearby the visitor center are a number of ponds and wetlands teeming with wildlife.clouds and water lily covered ponds

There are a series of boardwalk trails meandering through the ponds and wetlands giving visitors an excellent opportunity to view the wildlife.alligator in water

And I saw plenty, beginning with this large turtle.turtle on rock

And there were many of the anhinga or “snake birds” , for which the trail was named. They have a low metabolic rate and extend their wings to warm themselves. anhinga with wings spread

They have a long neck which gives them their name  “snake bird”.anhinga long neck

I encountered many of them including this juvenile who was not camera. anhinga with neck extended

He or she posed for many pictures. Here is a link to some more photos of the anhiga birds on the trail. Everglades Day One Anhinga.anhinga close up

I  continued on my walk though the water lily covered ponds as the sun began breaking through the clouds. A cold front was passing through but the temperatures were still in the mid 80’s.clouds over wetlands

And of  course there were the alligators.  alligator swimming in water

They are the main attraction.alligator with mouth open  

Folks from all over the world were gasping at their size and their proximity to us  humans . I am sure the alligators were looking at us as a possible meal. alligator close up

I next walked along another trail, the Gumbo limbo trail, which took me under a thicket of trees.large trees along trail

Here I saw some butterflies, butterfly on plant

dragonflies anddragonfly perched on plant stem

a number of small lizards.lizard on stem

I was amazed as I watched these tiny critters, I have learned they are brown anole lizards, scamper along the forest floor. They are not a native species. The males extend their “dewlap” when mating or marking their territory.lizard on tree

I also noticed a lot of them are missing their tails. Here is a link to some more photographs of these  lizards. Everglades Day One Lizards.lizard with tail missing

There were also some pretty flowers along the trails.

I had planned a short visit to the park but I spent four hours exploring these trails and enjoying the subtropical weather and natural beauty.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the park. Everglades Day One Anhinga Trail April 11 2018

I was tired and hungry so I decided to drive back to my hotel. I drove by the many fields of crops, now being irrigated in the early evening. 

I stopped on my way at an old favorite, the Farmstead restaurant where I had a nice southern meal of fried catfish, okra and tomatoes and collard greens. I was full and very tired. I returned to my hotel after sunset, spent some time on social media and was soon falling asleep, as I thought about new adventures in the Everglades. catfish okra and collard greens

“There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them; their vast glittering openness, wider than the enormous visible round of the horizon, the racing free saltness and sweetness of the their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space. They are unique also in the simplicity, the diversity, the related harmony of the forms of life they enclose. The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass.”   Marjory Stoneman Douglas

 

 

This is my first post