Sunday, October 8, 2017 : From Naples to Florida City


The weather seems intent on getting roughly decent again, that's a change compared to the few drops of rain we had last night.

 

We leave Naples to follow Tamiami Trail, the road crossing Florida West to East, linking all natural preserves in the south of the State. We were already there yesterday, we come again, that's our normal itinerary.

 

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Anhinga, Big Cypress National Preserve

 

Once more, we go to Big Cypress National Preserve, a natural park dedicated to preserving the fragile South Florida ecosystems. The first visitor center is still closed, the second one is open. It showcases local flora and fauna :  many birds, alligators, Florida panther. In a nearby grove of trees, we discover this anhinga, a very local species. A few steps further, a small snake crosses the boardwalk just a few feet ahead of us.

 

But still no alligator. At least not here.

 

A little further, a short conversation with park rangers confirms us what we already know. We have to forget about driving the Loop Road, that unpaved road crossing local natural habitats. Superstorm Irma has wreaked too much havoc.

 

So we drive further East along Tamiami Trail.

 

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Alligator, Everglades National Park

 

We hastily drop our bags at the hotel and immediately leave again, to nearby Everglades National Park. This park is made of three non-communicating sections. The two westernmost are closed. We already knew about the first one, we learned this morning about the second. So we will spend our afternoon in the third one, the easternmost, closest to Miami.

 

After a short visit and an educative film at the visitor center, we make a long stop at Royal Palm, where a wooden boardwalk gives access to a complete ecosystem. There, we can see an alligator. At last, we saw one in its natural habitat ! Marie takes many more pictures, turtle, flowers, trees ...

 

We drive the road all the way down to Flamingo, a closed visitor center (Irma, again ...) with an open marina. At West Lake, a beautiful walk in the midst of mangrove, we are attacked by a crowd of viciously aggressive mosquitoes. At Mahogany Hammock, we can see many different local species of trees.

 

We do a few more stops and finish the day with a photo session at sunset, close to the exit of the park.