05.02.2017 80 °F
Well here we are back again in the Everglades at Long Pine Key. It is a nice reprieve from the loud traffic noise of the Keys. It is so quiet...with just owl and cricket sounds, and animal noises at night. Both the Keys and the Everglades have their positives and is nice to experience both. Eating at Rositas again at Florida city near the Everglades is a definite plus! It is perhaps the BEST Mexican food We've ever had. Just look at the picture! After dinner we went across the street and snuck into the funky Hostel we stayed at last year. At the cool courtyard next to the fountain was a group of young international adventurers whom we traded funny travel stories. Half of them were from Sweden and the other half were from England.This is what the travel lifestyle is all about! The people we meet are as important as the places we go. Time to go back to camp and turn in with a good book for it has been a long day.
Funky Hostel that we stayed at last year wish we were staying at again
but you never know who's rooming with you.
The most authentic Mexican food I've ever had!
"Mary what was that scary noise that sounded like a skunk ape?"
Sometimes I wonder if I am in heaven or in hell. John says if I'm not sure, then I must be in purgatory. Unlike last year, cold and rainy, the 2017 winter of discount tent in Florida is turning out to be hot and mosquitoey. We have to find shade to relax in the afternoon when the sun bakes our tent. Here in the Everglades, We found solace at the Welcome Center where there's wifi, air, and a big shaded porch with rocking chairs and fresh breeze overlooking the water. To avoid the pesty mosquitos, we either cook early, or eat in town. To protect myself from the sun and insect bites, especially my newly knee incision, and the fear of infection, I wear long pants and long sleeve tops, which adds to my discomfort on a hot day. And worse yet, I already lost 2 pairs of crocs during senior moments.
Remembering what it was like camping when John and I were in our 20's, setting our camp spontaneously in the Smokies; by a mountain stream with our dog, Tundra, a white Samoyan. We also had moments that weren't so pleasant, like the time Tundra got skunked, and we washed her down with tomatoes juice and she turned all pink! Back then, we fished for our meals and washed in the cool mountain streams. Such were those days!
This morning, a nice couple walked by and were talking to John while I was getting breakfast ready. The husband had a walking stick, so I assumed he had a knee replacement like myself. After they left, John says to me: would you rather be blind and walk well like that gentleman, or would you rather be you...be able to do some walking, but can see? It didn't take me long to answer "me". John says the gentleman was born with eye problems, and with each year, his sight worsens. He now sees only white during the day. His beloved wife does all the driving and they travel in their RV/Van home. Hearing all this, makes me feel melancholy about our time here on earth. All the trials and tribulations we must go through in this life before entering the next. John says there's always a reason for people and things entering our lives, no matter how brief.
Today, I feel ready for some sightseeing in the Everglades. The first stop was Royal Palm. This is where you have to cover your car with tarp before you go on the trails for fear the vultures will peck at your car. We elected to go on an easy 1 miles "Anhinga Trail" with 1/2 of it on a boardwalk over marshes. All along you see flat water turtles, different species of birds, fish, and most of all, alligators. At the end of the trail, we were rewarded with a spectacular sight of an alligator hole where some 20 alligators were out warming themselves. They look so prehistoric! It made my day to be able to walk the distance to see them all!
JOHN: After the hikes, we went to the welcome center to avoid the hot noonday sun and "kick back". Boy, am I using that term a lot on this trip! While Mary was relaxing and on the wi-fi, l read everything on every display and I think my head was ready to explode. Lol! But really these alligators dig holes during the dry winter season or little 20 foot ponds to keep their water and also have their food delivered to them.All kinds of fish and animals come to their ponds and the gators help himself. No wonder they have that smile on their face!
Vultures are everywhere at this trailhead
Just at this trailhead you have to cover your car so the vultures don't mess with it
Alligator came up onto trail to see Mary.
Mary's alligator is very happy to see her.
Found twenty alligators just outside their water hole.
They love to warm up in the morning in the sun.
After the hikes Mary found the perfect place.
Fellow camper giving me a lesson on how to play the hammer dulcimer.
I have always been fascinated with crows and their high intelligence, I even have a favorite whiskey glass with two crows with the inscription "See two crows good luck to thee" so this was a really big big deal! Upon leaving the parking lot at one of our excursions, 2 crows chased us on the way out so upon stopping they landed on the hood and outside mirror. This guy sat there looking at me and started tapping on the window so I opened the window a bit and told him to stop,how crazy is that? We finally figured out that this was a shake down for food and so I hand fed them Cheerios. They gently took each one not like ducks or geese which most of the time grab your fingers. Saying it was a real experience is a understatement.
Went back to camp to regroup and relax so played a bit on the whistles to get ready for "Rowdy Mick" a Irish band that plays in a pub in Stuart that I did some songs with last year. A guy from another part of the campgrounds came over with his wife and sang and played his guitar with me. Mary was thrilled we played her favorite songs and she forgot about the mosquitoes. It was great! Unfortunately by the time we made our spaghetti dinner it was total darkness so with lots of bug repellent, we ate with the famous mosquitos of the Everglades. All in all it was a special and wonderful night with Joe and Tracy from Maryland.
Morning hike to the overlook.
Crane looking for some lunch.
Crows on my car checking us out.
Giving them some Cheerios.
Why did the cranky snapping turtle cross the road?
Doing tunes with Joe