Everglades National Park

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've seen pictures of Africa from friends trips there (Ann Marie) and the Everglades surprisingly looks a lot like it, plus tons of wildlife!  I always thought the Everglades was a giant swamp but 90% of it is a gigantic fresh water river flowing through a sea of grass.  There are swamp areas and mangrove forests, especially in the coastal areas but for the most part it looks like the Serengeti, but with water flowing through it.  And did I mention the wildlife?  Animals like crazy!  Of course the big critters are the Alligators, but the Everglades hosts hundreds of bird species found no where else. 

To see the full extent of the park, you really need a canoe.  There are actually very few roads into the Everglades, but hundreds of miles of canoe trails.  They have back country camping sites all over the park, but only accessible via boat.  I camped at the Flamingo site on the gulf coast of the park.  I really wanted to bring my Kayak on the trip, but had to choose between that or the snowboard.  Maybe next time.  Anyway, enjoy the pics.

I needed to mail some post cards, so I stopped off in the Indian village of Ochopee.  It turns out that it has the smallest operating post office in the U.S.  Apparently, the original office burned down in the 50's and they set up this makeshift office in an irrigation pipe shed and it has been working ever since.

  On the way out, I stopped in at a great local fruit stand in Homestead called "Robert is here".  Apparently it's been a local fixture since the 60's.  They had all kinds of tropical fruits you rarely see back home, so I stocked up on star fruit, Pepino melons, something called a Mamey (like a sweet potato), and baby plantains.  Something I've never had before which seems to be a staple in the South are Boiled Peanuts.  They taste great!  You can actually suck on them and get the salty juices out.  Tastes like cooked beans, but with a great nutty flavor, YUM!  And what would go good with the peanuts you say?  A Key Lime shake of course.  The perfect lunch for a hungry traveler!

p.s. I saw the sign for the Coral Castle, but didn't have time to check it out as I was in a hurry to make it to Mobile, Alabama (Sorry Tim).  If you are curious, take a look at this link from Karen's Roadside America site:  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2056

Got to get on the road, Mardis Gras is only a few days away...

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Where I stayed
Camping, National Park
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