Florida Day Three: A Hike Before The Rain On The T-67 Extension Trail In The Northern Everglades National Park.

Florida Day Three: A Hike Before The Rain On The T-67 Extension Trail In The Northern Everglades National Park.

Florida Day2 Everglades Shark Valley morning (13 of 25)
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When I was leaving for my trip to Florida  and the Everglades there was no rain in the long term forecast.  The 10 day forecast showed sunny or partly sunny days everyday during  my stay.  I was blessed.  I thought to myself , because it always seems to rain sometime on my visits to the Sunshine State. Well, I wasn’t happy,  but I wasn’t surprised either,  when I awoke  Friday morning and the forecast called for heavy rains,  and possible flooding. The rain was predicated to start around   8 a.m. to 9 a.m. near Shark Valley in the northern Everglades.

I was looking forward to a hike on the L-67 Extension trail recommended to me by a ranger at the Shark Valley Visitor Center in the Everglades National Park the previous day. Although there were severe thunderstorm warnings I decided to drive out to the trail and see if I could get some hiking in before the rains started.  I left my hotel around 7 a.m., about 20 minutes before sunrise. The skies looked threatening on the drive to the trail but the rain held off.

The trail is located  five miles east of  Shark Valley entrance about 15 miles from my hotel. The trail is  a southern extension of the 67A trail that follows a  water conservation   canal along route 41. It is located in the Everglades National Park and  dead ends after 5 1/2 miles.  The trail head is located on the east bound side of the highway across from the Valu Jet Flight 592 Memorial and the S 333 spillway control structure on the highway. I parked in the small area next to the gate,

and began my hike under the gray and ominous looking skies. I wasn’t expecting to see much wildlife on this overcast day but I saw an  eastern great egret wading in the canal as I was leaving my SUV.

I disturbed it’s morning fishing excursion and it flew off under the dark, dreary sky.

I also saw an American crow feeding on something near the entrance gate.

I started my hike with a wary eye on the clouds.

I walked on  the unpaved trail that was elevated above the canal on the west, and the grass wetlands on the east.

but on the  canal side some trees and shrubs grew above the water,

where I heard and saw many male red-winged blackbirds,

and boat -tailed grackles singing their distinctive songs. This is a male boat-tailed grackle,

and this the lesser seen female.

The vegetation along the trail was just cut but there were still some flowers in bloom, including the native Florida moonflower morning glories ,

 invasive senna and

West Indian Lantana.

There were also a few eastern pondhawk dragonflies up on this dreary day.

The clouds continued to darken so I walked at a fast pace,

and came upon this  interesting sight, a family of American white  ibises 

hanging with a turkey vulture and a black vulture.

The ibises flew off but ,

the vulture stayed and watched me walk past.

I heard and saw this white eyed vireo in a small area of  trees on the east side of the canal.

Double-crested cormorants,

and eastern great egrets flew over  on my hike.

And quite a few of these larger, metallic birds flew overhead headed for the Miami airport.

I had hiked about a mile when I decided walk back. The clouds continued to darken on my walk and a few drops of rain fell.

I saw a few more ibises  on the canal on my hike  back. Some flew from the canal

and landed  in the tree tops along the canal.

I also saw this great blue heron,

which flew off as I approached.

I love seeing them in flight.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike on the L-67 Extension trail. Florida Day Three: Everglades National Park L-67 Extension Trail birds March 22 2024.

The rain stopped as I got back to the parking area. I decided to   walk across the road to visit the site of the ValuJet Flight crash   in 1995.

A Memorial was erected on the site of  tragic plane crash  which took the lives of 11o people. After my reflective visit at this somber site I returned to my hotel just as the first heavy rains of a very wet and stormy day began to fall. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike on the L-67 Extension trail. Florida Day Three: Everglades National Park L-67 Extension Trail birds March 22 2024.

The forecast wasn’t wrong. The heavy rains continued all morning. I checked out of my hotel a 11 a.m. and drove in torrential rains to Florida City where I would stay at the Best Western Gateway Lodge for the next two nights. First, however I had to eat and I stopped into my favorite restaurant ,  the Farm Market, I   had my favorite Florida  meal , fried catfish, fried cabbage and mashed potatoes.   I love their home cooked hearty meals. I spent the afternoon editing photos in my room, checking in at the office  and  listening to the wind, rain and thunder. It can’t be sunny all of the time and  I love thunder storms  so I was enjoying the stormy  weather.

Vacation: When you spend thousands of dollars to see what rain looks like in different parts of the world.”— Robert Orben

 

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