Florida Day Three. A Final Sunrise Visit To Royal Palm And Off To Key Largo

Florida Day Three. A Final Sunrise Visit To Royal Palm And Off To Key Largo

Fordia Day Three Royal Palm anhinga hike (6 of 50)
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It was my last day in Florida City  so I decided to drive out to the Royal Palm visitor center in the Everglades National Park and watch the sun rise. I wasn’t sure of the location of the sunrise at Royal Palm but I was sure it would be a nice place to be even if I didn’t get a good view of the sunrise. 

I drove the 17 miles, first through the awakening city, and then through rural Florida countryside,  arriving at Royal Palm before the sunrise.  As I expected there were already some folks there, most with cameras, enjoying the morning twilight. A waning gibbous moon shone overhead in the dawn’s early light.

It was so serene and peaceful out here. So hard to describe in words. Truly a place to ponder the beauty of nature and our reason for being on this fragile planet for the short time we are allotted. This I did.

 After some quite reflection I realized there were clouds on the eastern horizon and that I would not get to see the sunrise. The clouds, however, were just near the horizon so the sun eventually appeared over the sea of grass that is the Everglades. 

As the sun rose

in the east I walked along the Anhinga  Trail observing a few anhinga or “snake birds” for which the trail was named stretching their wings in the early morning sunlight.

There were also great blue herons, 

little blue herons and

a tri-colored heron stalking the shallow waters along the trails. 

There is so much life in the Everglades and this trail with, its board walks above the shallow waters is a great place to observe it. 

As you walk there are fish, turtles snakes in the waters and many species of birds in the  waters and wetlands, including this big footed and colorful purple gallinule. 

Some birds that I am familiar with from Pennsylvania seem more colorful here in the Everglades, like the many red-winged blackbirds I saw on my walk. 

There were also many catbird in the woodlands around the trails. 

I walked the board walks a few times, enjoying the waterfowl wading in the waters including this egret. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike along the trail .Florida Day Three Anhinga Trail walk March 12 2020

As much as I  enjoyed watching the wildlife I knew I had limited time and I wanted to get some hiking. So I again walked out on the gumbo-limbo trail. And once again I was surprised at the lack of mosquito and insect activity in  the thick woods along the trail. 

I again walked out to the Hidden lake.

Along the way I saw  a few cardinals,

this unidentified bird a type of wren I believe and

a black vulture perched on a dead royal palm tree. I had smelled something dead near here on my previous walk and the vulture was, I’m sure, aware of this.  It was getting later in the morning, I had to check out of my hotel by 11a.m. so I returned to the Royal Palm visitor center.Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike along the Gumbo-limbo trail. Florida Day Three Gumbo-Limbo Trail March 12 2020

Before leaving the Everglades I took one more hike on the trail. This time the alligators were awake and active as the strong Florida sun warmed the chilly morning air. Well, chilly for alligators, it was 72 degrees when I arrived at dawn. 

I also saw the same pair of cormorants that were there the first day

, and I took one last photograph of their beautiful eyes. 

It was with a heavy heart that I left the Everglades. So alive this place always is. But I drove back to my hotel, checked out and then headed to Key Largo.  First, since I had walked five miles I stopped at the Farmers market Restaurant  for a delicious breakfast. I love this little place. 

As I began my journey I checked my IPhone Google map and decided, since I had a Jeep Wrangler, I may take a back road to the main Highway, US 1. What a mistake, and great adventure. 

After a half hour of driving over rutted and flooded back woods trails I was very glad to be on a paved road again.

It was a pleasant 1/2 hour drive to my next hotel, the Seafarer Inn where I had a small little cottage, I unpacked and relaxed in the sun for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening I was hungry again., I am always hungry, so I drove to the Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe, and had a nice dinner after which I walked out on their marina and took some photographs.

The seagulls,

 and pelicans were flying overhead in the golden evening light,

as the sun set in the western sky.

It was a good day, and I ended it at the local American legion, enjoying a local band with some friends from home. It was another good day in that paradise we call  southern Florida. Here is a link to some more photographs i took that evening. Florida Day Three Key Largo evening. March 12 2020. 

“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.”
― Marjorie Stoneman Douglas

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