January 4, 2012

River of Grass

Everglades National Park was our destination for today, and we had a flawless day to visit.  The day was sunny, with bright blue skies.  The temperature was a bit chillier than is typical, but it was perfect sweater weather and there was no humidity.  And best of all, the cooler weather of the last few days seems to have driven off the mosquitos and gnats.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

The Everglades is a unique ecosystem at the southern end of the Florida mainland peninsula and was the first national park created to protect a threatened ecological system.  It is also the third largest national park in the continental United States.  The Everglades is all about water.  This gradually sloping landscape was historically a freshwater river, just a few feet deep and fifty miles wide, that flowed slowly towards Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who was instrumental in saving this national treasure, dubbed the Everglades the “River of Grass.”

River of Grass
The Everglades is a landscape that not everyone appreciates.  South Florida pioneers and developers wanted to drain the land.  Today, many people simply view it as a swamp.  But if you look closely and listen, you can find treasures that you may see nowhere else.

Although the wildlife is completely different than what people typically associate with a national park, we found it just as fascinating.  Alligators are the main draw, but the countless species of birds are also stunning to watch.  Tim and I couldn’t seem to take our eyes off the herons, ibis and anhingas, not to mention the dozens of alligators that were sunning themselves in the gator holes.

Alligators Are What Most People Come to See
How Many Gators Can You Count?
Just Floating Along
Name that Bird!
We drove as far south as Flamingo where the park road ends at Florida Bay.  It was near the end of the day, and the light on the water was gorgeous.  A beautiful sunset on the drive back to the park campground where we’re staying was a perfect way to end our day.

Florida Bay at Flamingo
Taylor Slough
Almost Ready to Bloom
Tim Finally Made it to the Everglades
Golden Grasses
An Everglades Sunset


  1. Just gorgeous! I counted 5 gators. LV

  2. LV, You are correct! There are five gators sunning themselves. Congratulations! I just wish we had a prize to give you! Sarah