Friday, April 19, 2013

More of Big Cypress National Park, Florida

Today was “Be a Tourist Day” for us – Big Cypress National Preserve in 24-hours or less! :-) We started at the Oasis Visitor Center for a look around and enjoyed the canal and all the animals – alligators, birds and fish. Some alligators were hanging with a buddy~ 




Some were napping on their own~


And this is just a close-up of their very sharp claws – ouch! 









We then want to the 1-mile boardwalk hike at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park – it’s a nice walk that takes one from the grasslands to the slightly lower elevation of the cypress. Here is where we saw a couple baby alligators.
 

It’s interesting that the cypress needles grow straight up~
 
 


 



A cool thing we learned while we were here, which we saw on this stroll, is that many species of orchids and bromeliads grow on the branches of the cypress, such as this one~






It was at this point that we got a call from Andrew – he’s a ranger we knew when we worked at Mt. Rushmore National Monument last summer that works here at Big Cypress during the winter. (Well, actually yesterday was his last day.) We left him a message when we stopped at the Visitor Center and he called us back. We decided the three of us would meet for lunch in Everglades City, just a few minutes down the road. This is one of the coolest things, we think, about RV’ing – seeing people down the road at another time.

Andrew suggested Camellia’s – a restaurant where the locals go. We enjoyed our lunches (Brad especially liked his pulled smoked chicken sandwich) and we chatted for a while and caught up on our lives since last fall.


On the way there we passed the so-called smallest US post office. However……we also saw the smallest US post office in the Crystal River area while we were, so it seems as if one of these is a fake.  :-)  In our opinion, the Crystal River post office was much smaller – it was a telephone booth!



 
After lunch, we tooled around Everglades City and went to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center (part of Everglades National Park). Ironically, this is where we had a job opportunity this past winter (the one we passed on so we could go to Su-n-Fun). Although quaint, after seeing the building and housing, we are even more sure we made the right decision. Don’t get us wrong, one or two months there would be fabulous, but not five!
 
On the way back to the campground, we stopped at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center and enjoyed their 22-minute movie on the area. We also passed by this sign a couple times – not sure how a campground can be day-use only! 

So all-in-all, a good day-and-a-half of touring Big Cypress!
 


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