.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A gallery of gators — Florida’s Everglades National Park

098 Everglades , Alligator

There’s sometime viscerally disconcerting about looking into the eyes of an alligator.  Dark, non-blinking, but clearly focused on you, it sends a shiver up my spine.  Something being tickled in the primitive parts of my brain — prey intuitively recognizing a successful killing and eating machine that has survived for millions of years.  They sure look menacing with those armored bodies, powerful tails and dozens of sharp teeth, like the apex predators they are.

My instincts make me back off and keep a good distance, and that’s good advice for everyone — stay at least 4 m (13 ft) from alligators (and crocodiles) because over a 2 meter distance there’s no faster attack animal on the planet.  You won’t have a …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A visit to the Everglade National Park: Shark Valley’s “River of Grass”

012 Everglades Shark Valley Bobcat Trail 012 Alligator

This is the last in a three part series highlighting a visit to Florida’s unique Everglades.  The first part discussed the Cypress forests of the Everglades and the second part highlighted the coastal mangrove forests near Everglades City.  Today I’d like to share with you a great example of the major component of the Everglades, the “River of Grass” — tens of thousands of acres of partially submerged sawgrass.  Within this flat landscape are some small islands on which grow cypress, palm and gumbo-limbo trees.

The Everglades is characterized by a broad shallow river flowing from Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay.  This river averages 40-50 miles (75  km) in width, 6 in (15 cm)  in depth and flows very slowly, …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Everglades City, Florida: Mangroves, Manatee, and the Sea.

Everglades City 2013 019 airboat pelicans

This is the second in a three part series on Florida’s unique Everglades ecosystem.  The first part focused on the Cypress forests of the Everglades, which you read about here. This post deals with a visit to the coastal Everglades.

Everglades City is a small town (population 400) in southwestern Florida abutting the ocean to the south and Everglades National Park to the east.  The town is situated towards the southern end of the Everglades.  In this region, the “River of Grass” has transitioned to a coastal mangrove forest.  Mangroves thrive where the water is brackish and saw-grass can’t survive, and mangroves are ecologically important because they helps anchor the land and keep it from eroding during …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Florida’s Everglades: Big Cypress Bend boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

Florida Eveerglades Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk 2013 009

The Everglades is a fascinating and unique place — a broad shallow river slowly moving to the sea and covering a large portion of southwestern Florida in a thin layer of water.   Mostly the Everglades is characterized by its “River of Grass”, endless acres of saw-grass (run your finger along it’s edge and you’ll see how it got its name).  I’ll be writing about my visit to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park soon, Shark Valley being representative of this “River of Grass” ecosystem.  The mangroves are another face of the Everglades found along the coast, where fresh and salt water mingle, and we’ll also be discussing Everglades City which is in this region in a future post.

Today …

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