Today was dedicated to the Everglades National Park south west of Miami. After the about one hour drive from Miami downtown, I made it right in time for an interesting ranger led tour through the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm station near the east Park entrance station. During the walk we saw a lot of birds, fishes, turtles, and of course alligators in wild. After that I drove the main road through the national park up to its south west end at Flamingo, stopping at most of the points with interpretative trails, most importantly the Mahogany Hammock and the Long Pine Key with interesting vegetation.
In the afternoon I drove to the northern part of the national park, to Shark Valley, and got there right in time for the last tram tour at 4pm. The narrated tour runs an about 15 miles long loop through the northern part of the national park, stopping at an observation tower. Unfortunately, the weather had become very cloudy and during the tour it rained and stormed so much that the small cover of the tram did not help much, so all participants got drenched with rain and the tour had to be shortened. Also, my camera did not survive the water, so I was not able to take any more pictures from the second half of the tour. It was nonetheless impressive seeing a lot of alligators and rare birds again. After changing my clothes, drove further along the so-called Tamiami (Tampa to Miami) Trail westbound that leads through the Big Cypress National Preserve. Just before sunset began, I did another short walk at the Big Cypress Bend, an about 1km long boardwalk through the Big Cypress Marshes, where I was pretty much alone with the wildlife, something that looked like a racoon, and a huge alligator… After the walk, I had to do another hour of driving to this night’s stay in Fort Myers.