Biscayne National Park

We got up at 7:30 AM, figuring that since it was Sunday, and we had a kind of schedule in mind so we figured that on the way we would check out Eco Pond.  When we arrived at the pond the parking area was just about full, so parking the RV was a challenge. WE finally wandered over to the pond we found more cameras than birds. The assumed professional who needs teenagers to get good wildlife photos from the day before at Mahogany Hammock was there taking shots of one of the roseate spoonbills.  RK4_3680 There had been some banter the day before about the size of everyone’s lenses, so I was not intimidated by the dozen or so guys with their gazillion dollar 200 to 400 mm Nikon lenses.  I don’t know where I would store a lens that big in the RV, and besides if I lugged something that big around all day, I might be in shape.  Who wants to get up at dawn to look at birds? I’m not a professional; I’m on vacation, and retired to boot.  Nonetheless, I did get some good shots that I was pleased with.  Reviewing the photos is always the test, but they looked good in the little display, so I was happy.

We drove down the road, and I intended to have breakfast at the Anhinga trail, but decided that running the generator might upset all the birders running around on a Sunday morning, so we pulled off to the side of road that had a satisfactory view and made a big Sunday breakfast, fried eggs, home fries, sausage, coffee, OJ and English Muffins. Again, a great view, no noisy patrons, and the best seats in the house.

We were in a Sunday mode, so we bypassed the Anhinga Trail, and went to Church, Sacred Heart Parish in Homestead, FL.  Everyone showed up early for mass, so I found a place to park outside the parking Lot.  We had previously scoped out the church beforehand, and in that process, I missed the basketball hoops scattered throughout the parking lot/play yard. It was a very nice mass, and almost the whole mass was sung by both the excellent choir and the parishioners.  The priest had an indecipherable accent, Welsh, Irish or Scottish. His last name is Mc Creanor, so guessing about the last name was no help to me.  We changed to cooler clothes in the RV; nice to have your house with you at all times, and read the AAA book on what to do in Homestead. We discovered that part of the Biscayne National Park was located in Homestead do things differently in Florida.

The drive to the park was typically south Florida, with lots of agricultural lands, palm nurseries.  At one point we saw a car upside down in the canal we were driving next to.  It looked like it had been there for quite a while.  Leaving it in the canal would never fly up north.

DSC_8850We found the park and saw the sign for the National Park, and it appeared that there was nowhere to park.  I didn’t think at first that the entrance was the entrance, so we found a partially legal spot to park the RV, and took our picture of both of us standing next to the Biscayne National Park sign.  Tradition is tradition, and it must be done.  WE took some random pictures; saw and retrieved coconuts laying under a coconut palm, looked for the land crabs that eat the coconuts, we found the holes, but sighted no crabs.  I think that they are nocturnal. After standing and gaping at all the stuff that isn’t up north, we noticed that the ‘pedestrian walkway’ was in fact the driveway, after we saw all the cars driving in. We hopped back into the RV, made a quick K turn, and into the park wen went, to find that we were the only RV in the place.  The park had a launching ramp so there were provisions for trucks and trailers for the powerboats, so we snuck into a really long spot that occupied by a really short car. We wandered around, and took in the sights.  It is a beautiful park, and it was filled with families and groups cooking foods that I’ve never seen before.  I’ve been missing out on some cultural cuisine.  I wasn’t nervy enough to ask them what they were eating; for fear that they would be hospitable and offer us to join in. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to eat with them, it’s because I didn’t have anything to bring to the party, and it’s not right to crash. Everyone looked like they were having a great time in the beautiful park, packed with families enjoying a Sunday by fishing, barbeques, and hanging out.

RK4_3767RK4_3764Louise and I walked along the jetty/beach/spit near the channel after we visited the park headquarters, and I waded out into the water.  The water was great, warmer than bath water, but I had bare feet and the rocks or coral pieces were real sharp, and I have tenderfeet. WE took some pictures, sauntered back on the path to the parking lot and on the way talked with some young fishermen who were having a great time messing with a crab that was stealing their bait. When we returned to the RV we had a quick lunch and called my daughter and granddaughter and then went back to the park to wander some more. After a while, we headed back to the park.  On the way we saw what we thought was a crocodile swimming in the canal towards the Biscayne NP.

We were scheduled to stay at Flamingo for the evening, but we planned to drive to the Keys for an outing the following day, and it would involve a 70 mile trip, so we stopped at Long Pine Key Campground and got the same site we had before for two nights.  The same ranger was at the the gate, so we chatted, she is a sweetheart, and then we took off for the Anhinga Trail. .

We took a tour to the site of the old Nike missile base that was constructed to protect Miami during the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was not much to see, it was closed, but there wasn’t much in evidence, so we cruised around, took in the sunset, made a call to my buddy Frank and arranged to meet him in at Orlando. It was too dark by the time we got to the pond at the Anhinga Trail Visitors Center to see any birds, so we found a place on the far side of the parking lot and made a dinner of breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, and applesauce. The dinner was excellent, and would have been a good cap to a great day, but we decided to take in the evening ranger talk.  We arrived a little early, and took the walk where we saw more than a dozen alligators.  I brought my camera along, being the eternal optimist, but the skies are really dark, and there just wasn’t enough light available, even with some really long exposures.  It was a good time.  It’s a short drive from the Anhinga Trail to the campsite, and we arrived there at 9:30. It was a long day and great day.