Everglades Travel Blog› entry 39 of 42 › view all entries
So, after our adventures at the alligator farm we decided we wanted to visit more dangerous animals.
We had heard about a rescue centre called the Everglades outpost, a shelter that takes in a wide variety of native and not so native abandoned animals. We gave a ten dollar donation each and were told we were free to look around.
We again decided to walk home as the bus wasn't for a couple of hours.
We stopped at Robert Is Here for a well deserved milkshake, mine banana, Rachel's mango and watched the menagerie in the backyard.
We caught the bus for the rest of the journey back as it was way too hot and we were way too tired. Later that evening we were invited to the pub by Scott, one of the guys that worked at the hostel. We had nothing else to do so wandered down with him to a very hick looking pub that was a cross between the queen vic and an old people's home. The men were middle aged and wore cowboy hats, the women were even older but wore outfits that were designed for women half their age and had enough slap on to sink a battleship. We kept ourselves busy by playing pool (English rules) and actually won the first game, though I do strongly suspect Scott let us win as he went on the kick our asses the next two games.
The next day, and our last full day at the hostel we hired bikes to cycle through the National Park. The owner of the hostel drove us the 8 miles to the park's entrance and said when we were ready to give her a call and she would pick us up. We paid our entrance fare of $5 and began our journey. We had a map with us showing us where all the trails were and to keep us from getting lost. We quickly started spotting gators, with our first group being a mother and several babies in a gator hole which quickly swam under the bridge for safety when our shadows appeared on the water. It was a very hot day, we were sweating buckets in a very short time.
We cycled down to Royal Palm, the place we had visited our first night as we wanted to see it during the day. We locked the bikes up and walked the route we had a couple of days earlier stumbled over in the dark. There were lots of people about, with several school groups mixed in. We saw plenty of gators, though they were for the most part tucked up in tree roots and shady spots, hiding from the heat of the sun. We then headed off on a route marked 'Hidden River', we left the main road, onto a grass track which in turn changed into a very bumpy leaf strewn path. We eventually came across a bridge over a small pond, which lead back to Royal Palm.
One of the side effects of my sun burn was that when I began to sweat I broke out in blister type bumps all over my chest and belly. They didnt hurt but were very itchy and none too pleasant to look at. When we got back to Roya Palm we sat down at the rangers station and listened to one of the rangers talk about the glades and how the park was protecting the trees. Half way through the talk the contact lens in my left eye began to really hurt so I sloped off to the toilets to investigate. Turns out the contact had split so I had to dump it in the bin, along with the right one, praying I had my glasses in my bag. I didn't have my glasses with me so had a very.....challenging journey cycling back to the entrance of the park. Rachel was in front so I was able to follow her fuzzy shape without crashing into anything. In all we cycled over 10 miles, and boy did we feel it!