Stretching over 100 miles across Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico, Everglades National Park is home to sawgrass marshes, coastal mangroves and hundreds of animal species. A visit to these grasslands in Florida is one that cannot be refused.
My brother and I started our journey into the Everglades just as we rented bicycles to get a first glimpse of the Shark Valley. An interesting name for a valley with no signs of sharks. Turns out, the name comes from Shark Valley Slough, a water body that runs through this terrain and acts as a primary source of water to the Everglades before flowing to the Shark River.
A 15-mile paved road amidst the marshlands can be experienced either by two-hour tram tours, or on bicycles, or leisurely walks. I would recommend a worthwhile cycling trail that takes up to 2-3 hours that fills up for everything you’d miss on tram tours. And by everything, I’m mostly talking about the thickly armoured and long-snouted alligators bumming upon the causeway.
Hearing the creak of bicycle tyres kneading parched roads while sighting wading birds and quiet alligators under a clear blue sky simply make it a liberating experience.
Halfway down the trail is an observation tower that provides a panoramic view of the stretched grasslands swaying in the breeze. Keep a sharp eye for some more alligators in addition to the dozens that you’ll spot on the trail and a couple of white-tailed deer, if you’re lucky.
A hint of history
The Everglades wasn’t announced as a National Park for its topographical features but to shield its ecological fragility caused due to human intervention. Also known as “River of Grass”, the Everglades was designated in 1947 to conserve landscape and eliminate degradation of lands, plants and animal species.
Everglades, like any other National Parks, demands a least a couple of days to explored. Due to time constraints, we were unable to cover more of the glades except for Shark Valley and a short trail named Anhinga Trail. We had tough luck spotting Anhingas but it sure is a wildlife photographer’s haven.
Leave a comment on where in Everglades have you been/ planning to go to. 🙂