Florida Day Seven: Key Largo. A Morning Hike On The Southern Glades Trail To Manatee Bay And A Beautiful Sunset

Florida Day Seven: Key Largo. A Morning Hike On The Southern Glades Trail To Manatee Bay And A Beautiful Sunset

Florida Day Seven sunset (10 of 12)
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As usual,  I was up early Friday morning at my resort in Key Largo. I was excited to hike the last stretch of the Southern Glades Trail and reach it’s end at Manatee Bay.  I heard there have been many sighting of manatees and dolphins in the bay.  I left my resort and drove the 25 miles to the boat ramp parking area along the northbound lane of busy Highway One, of course after stopping for a large cup of coffee. 

The sun was rising as I left my SUV and began my hike. It was mostly clear and a sultry 72 degrees. I now knew the only access to the Southern Glades Trail were the open gates  along the fence enclosing a dam on the Aerojet Canal.  They were open with no sign saying not to enter so I crossed over to the trail on the other side of the canal. 

The trail was better maintained then the access road I hiked the day before. And there were more native plants growing on the trail on this side of the canal. There were many  red mangroves   growing along the trail. 

The spidery roots of the ones growing along the canal can be seen reaching into the water.

The seeds of this tree sprout roots while still attached to the tree. The begin to  reach into the soil when the drop to the ground or are carried to dry ground when they drop into the water. I had never seen the seeds before. They are different looking and you can see the small roots starting to protrude from the seeds. 

As I walked along the trail I noticed a lot more bird activity than on my  previous hike on the other side of the canal. There were a few wading birds on both sides of the trail.  Most flew off, behind the mangrove trees before I could get a photograph but this great blue heron   stayed long enough for me to capture it’s image. 

There were a lot of  song birds  fluttering in the mangrove and other trees along the trail including a few prairie warblers, 

a few were singing in the early morning sunlight. 

Common yellowthroats also  fluttered in the trees. 

I saw this osprey perched on the top of a dead tree across the canal and 

this great egret perched on a rock in the canal. 

There were  some wildflowers growing along the trail, the pretty yellow sea oxeyes, 

seaside gentians, which I saw on my previous walk, 

and these white saltmarsh asters, which I haven’t seen before. 

I continued my hike on the trail and walked past the communication towers where the access road I hiked the day before ended. 

After about another half mile walk on the trail  I reached Manatee Bay. Unfortunately there were no manatees or dolphins swimming in the bay.

While I sat and enjoyed the view an osprey flew overhead. It would be the only bird I saw while I saw and enjoyed the view of Manatee Bay and looked for a manatee or dolphin. 

However I saw dozens of brown anole lizards scampering over the rocks along the bay. 

There were also  schools of fish in the shallow waters near the shore of the bay. These were the prettiest and most unusual, the delicate needlefish. The were dozens of them. 

I spent about a half hour at the bay, taking in the view and exploring the coral cliffs above the bay.

I had to be careful here because of the many poison wood trees growing along the cliffs. 

After  a half hour, and not seeing and manatees, dolphins or crocodiles I decided to start my return 2 1/2 mile hike.  The morning  Florida sun grew strong and the temperature rose to near 80 degrees. I loved it. I love the heat. 

On my return walk I saw a few more song birds including this male Northern cardinal,

a female common yellowthroat,

a few palm warblers, 

and a lot more prairie warblers, 

including this one looking at me while took a photo. . 

A white ibis and

a turkey vulture flew overhead. 

As I approached  the damn on the Aerojet canal  near the parking area I saw a few double-crested cormorants. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike to Manatee Bay. Florida Day Seven. Key Largo. Southern Glades hike birds. February 18 2022.

And  in the rocks around the dam I saw  a few of these invasive but beautiful redheaded agamas lizards. These lizards have been spreading rapidly in Florida  threatening rare butterflies and insects. 

This is a male,

 and this a female caught in the act of eating an insect.  This is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike to Manatee Bay. Florida Day Seven. Key Largo. Southern Glades Trail February 18 2022. 

It was now almost 11 am. and I was hungry. So I decided to stop for breakfast at Mrs. Macs II . I learned that this newer Mrs. Mac’s doesn’t serve breakfast. So I had  nice lunch starting with a cup of conch chowder, 

and then a mahi mahi melted cheese sandwich. I was hungry and it was good. 

It was my last afternoon in the Keys. So, after  I checked in with my  office back home, I  relaxed at my resort the rest of the afternoon.   After meeting some  friends I returned to my resort to enjoy my last sunset in the Keys. The sun cooperated   this time. 

It was beautiful.

I love watching it disappear below the horizon.  Here is a link to another gallery on my website with some more photographs  of the sunset. Florida Day Seven. Key Largo.  sunset February 18 2022. 

Of course after watching the sunset I was hungry and had to eat. I returned to the Italian  Food Company where I had a  delicious Caesar’s salad

,and  way to much, but just as delicious, dish of fettuccine with a salsa  Rosa sauce served with shrimp. I like to eat. I was full this time so I returned to my room to edit photos, work on my blog and reflect on how quick me week in South Florida went. 


“Every moment of life is unique — a kiss, a sunset, a dance, a joke. None will ever recur in quite the same way. Each happens only once in the history of the universe.” — S. Nachmanovitch

This is my first post


  1. Susan Geib Moyer on February 28, 2022 at 9:19 am

    My husband and I continue to be fascinated by your exquisite photos of the critters you come across on your hikes. You catch them as if they’re going out of their way to look their best for your camera. The osprey on the dead tree looks positively regal. Thank you again for your blog. Have a safe journey back home to NEPA. We’ve still got some ice and snow to welcome you. Sorry about that.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on March 27, 2022 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I love sharing the beauty I find on my hike. Sorry for the late response. So busy. And we still have snow here in Northeastern pa.