|Date:||Feb 26-27, 2022|
|Location:||Everglades National Park|
|Campground:||Long Pine, Camp Site: #25|
|What we learned:||To check more closely what amenities the campsite has. I thought it had electricity but that was the southern campsite at Flamingo|
|Would we go back?||Yes, but the weather has to be cold, as there is no electricity. We would also like to stay at the Flamingo campground.|
Another quick overnight trip to test out Floridays at Long Pine Campground. We have named our RV Floridays. (see the previous post.) We thought we were going to have electricity this time but when we got there it was the other campground down at Flamingo that has the electricity and water. Oh well, it was a nice night and cool so it did not matter.
Everglades National Park is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house. I signed us up for the Ranger lead Wet Walk on both Saturday and Sunday. The rangers were all surprised as to why someone would go on both days. Wayne and I have done the Wet Walk one other time with a ranger and 3 times by ourselves. It is an AMAZING experience. Even though we have gone to the same place each time, you always learn something new from the ranger. In nature, no two walks are the same as there are different animals, different lighting, different weather, different flowers, etc. Again the walks did not disappoint. We approached Double Dome from the south, which was new for us. The ranger walked us through the sawgrass explaining how the water flows, the topology of the Everglades, and the many things we were seeing. The periphyton is the backbone of the Everglade’s life chain. As we entered the cypress dome we were all just in awe of the beauty. We saw some ibis and heard a barred owl. We later found the owl sitting on a branch looking down at us from only about 15 feet. This was the closest I have ever been to an owl. As we walked out we went by a gator hole, no gators were home. They can sense us in the water and move away because we scare them. As we came out of the water and walked back to our cars, the 10 ft gator was sleeping near a culvert about 50 feet down from where we emerged.
The campground, Long Pine, is the northern campground in the park. It was really nice, clean, and quiet. The actual campsite was very roomy and you are not on top of your neighbors. As we are learning about our RV, we decided to take showers. We could not figure out how to heat up the water so we both took really short cold showers.
The next day we got up early to photograph the sunrise at Pa-hay-okee which is an overlook on the north side of the main road and has views looking east. Sunrise was pretty but the highlight of the morning was seeing a pair of barred owls from the overlook. We had to sit down and contort our bodies to see them as they were below the overlook deck and camouflaged well. I bet a lot of visitors missed them although we told everyone we met. The only reason we knew they were there was that a family on the boardwalk told us. Then as we were leaving the boardwalk and crossing the parking lot a snake slithered across the path and climbed up the cabbage palm tree in the parking lot. Wayne and I watched and photographed it move all over the tree hunting for lizards and other animals.
To pass time before the afternoon Wet Walk we drove down to Flamingo to check out the new hotel that is under construction. They are building a concrete frame to hold shipping containers to be used for rooms. It looks like it is going to be really nice with a fantastic view of Florida Bay. You can book a room at https://flamingoeverglades.com/flamingo-lodge-restaurant/
Throwback: Wayne and I stayed at the original hotel years ago. Back in maybe 1998 before we were married. I think Wayne was testing me. I have to say it was the worst night’s sleep ever. You could feel the springs in the mattress. We left the light on in the bathroom overnight and by morning there were so many bugs in the bathroom I couldn’t go in. I also remember the restaurant, which had the best conch chowder I ever had. The hotel and restaurant were severely damaged by hurricanes Wilma and Katrina.
Sunday’s Wet Walk was very different from our Saturday wet walk. The ranger made a game out of all the items you can find in and around the cypress dome. Some of the items were Saw-Grass (Cladium jamaicense), periphyton, air plant, pine cone, bromeliad, Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana), apple snail, and Florida Bladderwort (Utricularia floridana) to name a few. The group found all of these and more. It was also a nice touch to just be still in the dome and listen. The silence was very peaceful and relaxing. I cannot wait to go walking in the Everglades again.