Everglades Day Two

purpleWell, I’m sitting here in the everglades this morning, looking out at tall pine trees and palmettos.  There is a fifth wheel off over a couple of campsites, and there are some strange evergreen laurel like bushes in the growth.  It started out at 65 this morning, but it’s only 9AM and the temperature is now up to 74. How nice.  Louise took a shower; there are restrooms here, but no shower rooms, so it’s nice to be self-contained.  We didn’t run the generator for making breakfast, but I’m running it for hair care.  What we do for love! It’s peculiar how life sometimes works out.

Seventeen has always been an important number for us.  We had our first date on the 17th, we were courting for 17 months before we were married, we were married on the 17th and there are 17 days between our birthdays.  Both our grandchildren were born on the 17th (Thank you Pete and Betsy).  So, when we woke up on the 17th of February, Louise asked me if it were all planned out.  I told her, “No, it’s just the way things worked out.  I had a general plan, an idea of who it would be really nice to see, but none of it was planned.” “Sure, she said” with a smile, “But it’s the truth” said I.  Sometimes you set a goal and you meet it more spectacularly than you ever planned, and sometimes the goal runs away on Mercury’s feet.  I’m glad today was the former.

alligatorsAfter a quick breakfast of cereal, we took off for the Anhinga trail.  I’d been there in College during January 1972, in Geology field camp.  I remember the Florida Keys portion of the trip much better.  We were in the Everglades for two nights, I think, and then we were off to Long Key in the Keys for the rest of the month.  A truly awesome time.  One of the best, and most educational and informative portions of my life.  Yes. I know you’re thinking geology, sun, beer and a month in Florida in midwinter, but it helped put all that Devonian Geology and other things, not necessarily related to Geology, firmly in place.  Thank You Dr. Larry Mc Cormick.

There were more alligators today than in 1972, and the birds today were spectacular.  The place was really crowded considering that school is supposed to be in session, I think, and there were a large percentage of tourists from Europe.  I thought that those guys were only around during August.

I took hundreds of pictures, and I’m sure my cousin Pat will have something to say.  As she’s the birder in the family, and very good at it, but the birds available to be seen by the accidental birder is just spectacular.  We saw an Anhinga that caught a catfish that was about half his size.  It took him 30 minutes to swallow the darn thing.  How he swallowed it I still don’t understand, but now I know why they call them the ‘snake bird’.  We spent over two hours looking at birds, the alligators, the plants and enjoying the spectacular weather.  It was about 78 degrees and the humidity was moderate.  We called both our Moms to check in with them, all was good , and we went back to just enjoying life.

We spoke with a Swiss National who was travelling with his wife and two children for a year, oh, those Europeans, and his two parents/in-laws were travelling with them for the current two weeks.  I told him his wife deserved a medal, he replied she was the most important link in the chain. We had a nice talk about our respective vehicles.  I made mention of my RV being a “Goldilocks’ vehicle, only to find out that he was not familiar with the story. Please, now, try to tell the story of ‘Goldilocks and the three Bears’ in under a minute.  Intellectually it’s a snap, but in real life, not so much.  I hit the high points, he kinda got it, I suggested that he Google it later. We shook hands, and left wishing we both had the time to talk more.  A very interesting individual. I left better for the meeting. I think that you are blessed when you realize that today is one of the good old days. Today was good.

bobnlouiseWe took a walk along Gumbo Limbo Trail through the woods nearby and had a good time looking at the Royal Palms that were here and there in the undergrowth.  I was expecting something different at Royal Palm, something out of a copra plantation in the South Sea Islands, or something similar to the palm nurseries to the east of the everglades and the surrounding squash and tomato fields, next the National Park area. But it was gumbo limbo trees, mahogany trees and scrub.  We heard small things and woodpeckers, but didn’t spy any life in the woods.  It was very tropical, a very other place than you’re experienced with.

We took a ride into Homestead, FL, where I did some work for a client (the cellular is much better) and bought some liquid refreshments and provisions, and got back to the campsite just after sunset.  Dinner was home cooked Chicken Cordon Blu, broccoli, mashed potatoes, salad, white wine and no room for dessert.  Good music, an oscillating fan, and some writing, and the night is complete. Again, a very good day.