A day out in Everglades

Everglades Travel Blog

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The sound of the beeping alarm woke me up from the deep sleep. I wasn't dreaming or anything but the eyes felt incredibly heavy to open. The time showed 7 in the morning when I disabled the alarm. I grunted as I stretched myself, thinking how fast time flew. It was 3am when I went to bed the night before and here I am, 4 hours later trying to wake up to face a brand new day.

A part of me felt like sleeping on and a part of me feel it's a waste to sleep the weekend away. I managed to drag myself into the shower, got dressed and was soon on my way to breakfast. I got online as I waited patiently for the phone call to come. Sometime after 9, it came. I raced downstairs. They were already waiting for me.

We jumped into the car and was soon on our way to Everglades National Park. I was super excited. Im never passing the chance to visit this place. It's so HUGE it'll probably take weeks to tour the whole place. Today we're going biking in Everglades, of which I'm pretty much thick skinned enough to tag along (again ) with colleague and well..new strangers.

The Everglades National Park, is quoted as the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species, of which it contains the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades marshland region of southwestern Florida, third largest national park. It is almost exclusively a biological park dedicated to the preservation of a complex and precisely ordered living mechanism

This is how big the area is, according to information from the internet, in hectares.

Federal Land - 1,398,617.13
Non-Federal Land - 461.13
Gross Area Acres - 1,399,078.26

Ok, enough of the boring info. Let's get down to picture telling business!

The Everglades National Park itself is so huge that it has a few visitor centres, each, miles and miles separated from each other, depending on what kind of activities one wished to do. It's important to be doing research for the activity you're planning to do to avoid going to the wrong visitor center.

In our case, we have a local who's acting as our tourguide for the day and all we needed was to follow his car to get to the right place.

We were at the Shark Valley Visitor Centre.



It was pretty empty when we arrived. That's the tram taking you on a guided tour.



The men took out the bicycle parts



and then started to put everything together while the only woman there do nothing but to wait and take pictures




The most unique bike of the day, of which I was also told specially "reserved" for me because I'm a girl and also the shortest of the lot, obviously



I'm so short I refused to take pictures with others, KONON hehe



Ling Hock trying out the bike, cycling with all his mighty effort



Hmm.. to rent my own bike here or to take the funny looking bike?



Guess I was talked into riding it...



and talked into wearing a silly helmet with it



Miss Laugh-a-lot, hey I like the title



Everyone gearing up



And we're on our way! I had no idea at all how long the route was going to be...






Still happily camwhoring away...the worse is yet to come




We were basically surrounded by swamps on both sides with only one long road ahead. The sights we saw along the way were pretty though.



Somehow fascinated by the water's swirly movement



This was the prove




Breathtaking no? The color is as real as you see in the pic



The water was so clear you can see the algae at the bottom of the swamp.




As usual, on every trip, I will always make a fuss of wanting to see or eat something. This time around, I was making a fuss wanting to see aligators.

When we first saw one, I was ecstatic! If you look closely at this one, they tied his mouth @_@ poor thing, how to eat like that?




Soon, we discovered that aligators were EVERYWHERE along the road, roaming free in the wild! This is like the coolest thing. Bike halfway can see aligators every now and then at the side of the road. Most of them just laying there sleeping or sunbathing.



You just have to be careful not to step into one or god knows how you will end up




We saw more of other creatures such as eagles, and pelican looking like birds which I dont know the name of along the way. I truly felt as if I'm living among these creatures' habitat. The ride was long.... and tiring.. with the wind blowing hard against the direction I was going, making the ride harder. The guys in front already disappeared into nowhere and I was left alone, peddling my funny looking small wheeled bike. I swear people who biked past and smiled at me had this funny look on their faces -_-

The ride took me at least 1 and a half hour to get to the destination. I had no freaking idea what was in store for me... only finding out what we're looking for when I reached.

This tower standing tall and grand in the middle of the wild. I love this shot! Tell me it's nice!










Screaming HALLELUJAH~!



At the foot of the tower, an article explaining the Everglades.



We ran up the tower





And stumbled upon this amazing scenery



Everyone wants a piece of it



You see why now I refused to take pictures with other people? I look like a midget wtf




The supposedly emo and artistic shot




We got down from the tower and started another freaking long ride back! I swear my butt was still painful from all the peddling earlier but everyone had gone and I didn't want to get left behind so I had to start going back too.

This was when my interesting encounter began. So I was taking my own sweet time, enjoying the scenery, the wind, the sun, the nature and just about everything when I saw an aligator on my right. It was only right that I avoided it so I cycled to the left, avoiding it. I was still looking at the aligator on the right when I suddenly heard leaves rustling from the left. To my horror, an aligator came out and was crawling pretty fast out onto to road. At that time I was already on the left side of the road, was SO CLOSE almost running into the aligator who was also making a dash out onto the road. And I'm talking about a HUGE, LONG, FATASS aligator. My heart skipped a beat and raced so fast. I peddled as fast as I can before it came dashing towards me and I made it just in the nick of time to avoid it @_@

It was sooooo scary. I kept cycling at the same time looked back. It was truly a full grown, huge and black aligator. There it was in front of my eyes, crawling from one side of the street to the other. Here comes the question.

Why does the aligator cross the street?

To scare the shit out of the passing biker. -_-


I survived to tell the story, well duh


Can you spot the baby aligators? They're in yellow and black stripes.



The grasshoppers are like HUGE HUGE! Fat and juicy too!




Next!

We visited the visitor information centre after grabbing a quick lunch at Subway.



It was very nicely setup inside, a great learning centre I would say.











Florida map tiling on the floor




Walking out from the visitor centre, moving on to the next highlight.



Oh wait, we found another "masterpiece" to camwhore with ... the Florida panther



He's definitely loving it!



Our tourguide then took us to the main attraction for everyone who stepped their foot in Everglades.

The signboard of course



Our next mission was to walk the Anhinga trail, named after a bird.



This bird.



Our tourguide told us that the Anhinga trail is the most scenic trail in Everglades.



Don't mind me, commercial break



It's true, I really like the place a lot, everything looked so peaceful and calm...









Can you see the birds in the trees?



Anhinga bird spotted drying itself in the sun.




The guy in red was our tourguide, he takes awesome pictures too!



Group pic before leaving



I call this the "Beard tree", some call it the "Noodle tree"




We stopped by this place selling all sorts of fruits on the way home.

Spotted! Mustang!



I dont know what this is but it's cute alright





And you dare to complain fruits in Malaysia are expensive?! Look how much they cost here!

Cempedak!



Jambu batu!




After that, we decided to call it a day and went home. It was super tiring alright, I've never biked so much in my life.. the trail was 15 miles each trip, which makes it 30 miles for two trips. My butt hurted like hell but the experience was definitely worth it, especially the close call incident with the aligator. Wow, who would have thought I'd seen aligator that close, out in the wild?

I'm definitely looking forward to coming back to this park if I have more time to spare here.

Last but not least, my favorite pic of the lot... the group pic with the Everglades signboard!




Months ago, I kissed a girl... this time around, I kissed...















an aligator!


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Everglades
photo by: denisx