Florida Day Two: A Hike On The Coastal Prairie Trail

Florida Day Two: A Hike On The Coastal Prairie Trail

Fordia Day Flamingo Coastal Hike (28 of 50)
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On my second day in the Everglades, after watching the osprey family at the Flamingo marina,  I decided to hike on the nearby Coastal Prairie Trail. First I stopped and visited, for the first time,  the Eco pond.  Located adjacent to the campgrounds, I had heard there is an abundance of wild life at this small pond. It is noted for the roseate spoonbills that often wade here in the shallow waters of the pond.  

However it was already mid morning when I arrived  and the much of the wildlife had already left, seeking shelter from the hot Florida sun. The only bird wading on the small pond were a flock of  black-necked stilts. 

They walked on their long legs in the shallow water looking for small crabs, worms  and mollusks. 

As I continued my hike around the small pond I saw the crow with a snail in its bill. There were a few larger crows in the trees around the pond but this was the extent of the wildlife I saw at the pond. 

I returned to my Jeep and drove through the active campground  At the end of the road there is  an old abandoned campground. I remember exploring it on my last visit and wondering about the folks who camped here and the good times they had. Here is a link to my blog post from that visit for some more thoughts on the campground. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/florida-day-twothe-everglades-a-ride-south-to-flamingo-visitor-center/

The entrance to the Coastal Prairie Trail is within the old campground. I left my Jeep and followed the trail that began under trees covered with Spanish Moss hanging from their branches. 

The moss shimmered  in the sun creating a magical walkway at the  entrance to the trail. This beautiful plant is not a moss but actually a relative to the pineapple plant

The canopy of Spanish moss ended and the trail meandered through fields of saltwort or turtleweed growing in the sandy soil. 

I took the trail to the bay and soon found myself walking through a grove of mangrove trees. These salt tolerant trees are found throughout the coast of Florida. 

Walking along the trail I watched tiny sand crabs run into their holes and some bigger ones like this fellow

There were also many lizards scampering  on the grounds of the trails. . 

As I walked I felt a twang on my neck. It was a large spider web strand. Looking over my shoulder I saw this critter on its web. He wasn’t happy I was messing with his web. 

The trail continued along the shores of the bay. 

I encountered dozens of these white ibises wading in the shallow waters near the shore. This one caught one of the many crabs that live in these coastal waters. 

The trail soon left the bay and turned inland.  It followed a flat coastal plane with few trees. 

I found this old boat engine along the trail. I wondered how it got to this remote area. And how long sat there? Who purchased it and when? So many questions…. and no answers.

It was now late afternoon and the March Florida sun was intense. When the black vultures started flying overhead I knew it was time to  end my hike and return to my Jeep.

While walking the three miles back I observed some colorful dragonflies darting about,

and butterflies visiting some of the 

wildflowers growing along the trail. 

I finished my 6 mile hike and began my 38 mile drive back to Florida City. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike on the Coastal Prairie Trail. Florida Day Two. Coastal Prairie Trail Hike March 11 2020 

I made one stop along the way, at the Mahogany Hammock Trail. I had heard there was an owl nesting here. I had walked this trail before and had seen a few migratory birds on my last visit. This time I saw none, not even an owl. 

I continued my drive to the hotel and stopped for a nice lunch of conch chowder and a grouper sandwich at the Gator Grill. A perfect way to end a day in the Florida Everglades. Here is a link to a gallery with photographs from Eco Pond and Mahogany Hammock. Florida Day Two Eco Pond and Mahogany Hammock March 11 2020  

“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”– John F. Kennedy

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  1. Andrew on April 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Great pictures.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on June 2, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks Andrew