our campground in everglades was sort of in the middle-ish of the park, at a no hookup site in long pine key campground. thankfully the power of the sun helped us to not have to run our generator too much, but the extreme heat and mugginess sometimes necessitated a bit of air conditioning and generators were employed.
other than our two epic adventure days at flamingo and shark valley, we pretty much laid low for the week. but, on one morning, we went over to a ranger led walk at the anhinga trail near our campground, which was exactly how i envisioned the everglades looking before we ever set foot in them. the previous two days were a bit of a surprise to me. the talk was informative, but there were tiny grasshoppers all over the trail, which presented a bit of terror for hazel.
we saw a TON of wildlife. the ranger pointed out a colorful snail on a gumbo limbo tree, an overly friendly cormorant posed on the railing by the trail, anhingas spread their wings in the trees nearby, and a great blue(?) heron gave us an up close viewing.
we also saw soooooo many alligators. you would think we would grow tired of them, but we never did. each sighting was just as exciting as the last.
well. i sort of take that back. we got to a little boardwalk-y overlook deck type area, and it was surrounded by up close (but safely separated from) alligators. we took a million selfies and other pics of our new favorite reptile friends.
after our ranger talk/walk ended, we strolled along the rest of the loop, looking for more fun wildlife. we spotted lots of fish, and a big old tortoise, and several more birds. hazel also lost a flip flop while standing on the railing for a better look, and i had to carry her the rest of the way, in the hot, muggy afternoon sun.
later in the week, when the lidkids had completed their junior ranger workbooks for the everglades, we made our way back to the visitor center near our campground, where we stopped by a little water filled hole next to a culvert under the road, where we noticed alligators liked to hang out. it was actually the first place we spotted gators, on our way into the park on the first day.
at the visitor center, we made our junior rangerhood official, with a book review and swearing in.
and for anyone out there keeping track, everglades national park was our 33rd. sort of. (anna and i were the only dry tortugas visitors, and isaac and derek have petrified forest under their belts. hazel is a slacker.)