Shark Valley Observation Tower

High noon as our tram pulled up the observation tower, the half way point of our tour. Our guide gave us strict instructions to be back in 30  minutes or walk! The limited amount of time would mean no side trips.

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I noticed a small side trail but there wasn’t time to explore too far so I turned around  and headed to the observation tower.

As a diabetic I have to be careful to make arrangements to eat on a schedule if I want to avoid the uncomfortable effects of low blood sugar. As I approached the tower I began to recognize the familiar signs…fast heartbeat, shaky hands, legs like rubber. I had tossed a bag of peanuts into my camera bag before I headed out this morning but I was annoyed that it had to happen now. Why couldn’t it have held off until I was back on the tram. I only had 30 minutes to explore!

At the tower there were benches and restrooms so I took a few minutes to eat my peanuts. As the symptoms began to subside I  made my way up the circular ramp admiring the view as I went. The tower provides a 360-degree view of the Everglades sawgrass prairie.

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The tower is about 50 ft high so you get a really clear view. Looking down there is an alligator pond and it was busy today.

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Many alligators were hauled out sunning but there were some swimming as well.

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We were high enough up to be above most of the tree tops so I found myself looking down on some of the birds too.

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From this vantage they looked awful close to those gators.

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Off in the distance I could see the loop road the tram had just traveled down and the paved path I walked to get to the tower.

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Up here there was a breeze and the temperature was warm but comfortable.

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Time was flying so I headed back down the ramp. On the walk back I peeked in on that shaded side path. There was a muddy puddle on the side of the path and I thought I heard a rustling. I froze and tried to peer through the shaded foliage. I couldn’t see anything but when I looked into the water I could see a reflection and it seemed to be moving. I couldn’t make out details but the reflected motion reminded me of a snake. I’m not sure but I might have seen one of those pythons that are invading the park.   I wish I could have gotten a better look!

But now I was running late so I hurried back to the tram with the last of the stragglers.

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