It’s the Journey…

Everglades National Park. It’s been an unreachable goal on so many of my Florida trips. Normally my visits take me to the Orlando area even when I am not visiting the Theme Parks and Orlando isn’t anywhere near Everglades National Park. Now that I’m in Fort Lauderdale finally getting to the park is a top priority.

I realize that all of my little adventures so far have taken me into the Everglades…but not the National Park. My first decision is which part of the park to visit. There are 3 entrances and they are nowhere near each other. Since wildlife is a priority I chose the Shark Valley entrance. My GPS put me about 45  minutes away so it wasn’t a bad drive. It was highway for the most part.

I was making good time until I got off the highway and made my last turn toward the park. At least there were plenty of signs so you don’t get lost. What I didn’t know was that the last part if the trip was all under construction so it was one lane…literaly. You stopped for the flagmen who let one lane go , then the other.

The Shark Valley entrance opens at 8:30 am and closes at 6pm. As I got closer I saw snake hunters with their snake hooks searching the perimeter of the park for invasive snakes. The state of Florida is sponsoring a snake hunt for pythons. Latest count is at 31. The hunt ended Feb 8. I’m not sure what the final counts came to. I will have to look it up and let you know in another post.

It was a little after 9am when I saw the entrance to the park come into sight. The entrance fee is $10.00 and is good for 7 days. It’s also good at any of the entrances. Too bad this is my last day in Florida for this trip. I’m flying out of Fort Lauderdale Airport in the morning.

The limited parking was almost filled even at this early hour but the rangers were great helping me squeeze my little rental into a spot that seemed way too small  by directing me in. I collected my gear and walked across the pavement to the sidewalk and almost stepped on my first “gator”…a big one! The ranger laughed and said ” Welcome to the Everglades. Watch where you step.”

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What an introduction! I walked the rest of the way to the information center on the road..not the sidewalk!

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