The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gator Hook Trail


Everglades, Florida

One day we took a dirt road that looped through Everglades National Park and came upon a trailhead.  Wow, I'll never get an opportunity like this again I thought.  There was no indecision.  I pulled over and parked, got my hiking gear together, said good-bye to Sinbad and took off.
No other cars were parked there so I knew I would be in it all by myself.  I was really excited about exploring an environment totally new to me, but I did have this lingering thought of alligators, cottonmouth and water moccasin snakes and there were Florida Panthers too, oh my!

Let's see I have water, some trail food, my hat and long sleeve shirt for sun protection...oops, no insect repellent.  Oh, I'll be fine.  Gee, I have no friends either.  Travel itinerary?  I don't even know where I am going.  Oh well...I'm off (but not by much).

The first portion of the trail was like this.  That is hard limestone.

This could be a real ankle twister. 

Then it changed into this with these pointy stumps sticking up all over.  This was fine here but when the growth became real dense with no sunlight coming through well yeah, I tripped a few times.

I was fascinated with these air plants.  
This was one of the better specimens to photograph as it was in the sun and had more flowers to it.

Another open in-the-sun space where you can see these bromeliads all over on the trees.

 I guess in the wet season this trail can really be interesting to hike on.
Think alligators and water moccasins.  Yep, real interesting.

This section of trail was about as swampy as it got for as far as I went in.  You can see how the logs to the left are arranged so one can walk on them and stay out of the goop.  Yep, a hiking stick like the lady above has would have come in handy here.

Around a mile and a half in I finally found an alligator and not right away either.  It was in a real dark section and I was goofing around looking at something overhead when I eventually saw him about 20 feet away.  Good grief!  If he were right by the trail I probably still would not have seen him until I was missing a leg.  So I thought this a great opportunity to get a selfie using the iPhone with the alligator right off from my shoulder.  Try as I did I couldn't get the darn camera to set the exposure open enough for how dark it was in there and none of the pictures turned out.  So with my point and shoot I got this, and even it had trouble with the darkness as it is blurry from camera shake.  I think maybe my heart was still pumping at above normal pace.

All I had to show for my efforts while trying to get the selfie were numerous mosquito bites.  The skeeters descended upon me like a plague once I stopped moving.  That was it!  I ran back up the trail a ways hoping to leave the mosquitoes behind (I did...kind of) and decided to head on back.
Tomorrow some more pictures of my hike back.





8 comments:

  1. Interesting path to go but indeed you must be a little prepared. Nice pic's to show the atmosphere over there.

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  2. You are very adventurous, I hadn't gone on my own into such an unknown place. And than an alligator again! Could have been your last picture....

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  3. Good grief, quite an adventure, John! Good thing you didn't have Sinbad with you on a leash, right?

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  4. really neat and rough trail, but i'd have been a bit intimidated being out there on my own with no one accounting for me. :)

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  5. John,
    You are brave.
    I would be nervous around those guys.
    Peace :)

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  6. In Drake Bay Costa Rica, knee high rubber boots were the last line of defense against snakebite. Everyone wore them all the time. Not much good against a gator bite though!

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  7. You are way braver than I would be going down that path all by your lonesome! My hands would be shaking if I saw an alligator, that's for sure!

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  8. Love the colorful air plants.

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