Warren & Emily Swan → Trips → 1994 Florida EvergladesSee the 1985 Florida Everglades Trip for a general discussion of these somewhat regular/irregular snow-bird excursions.
Interesting items about this trip were:
When we got to Florida, we took the westerly route down I-75 because of supposed build up along US-27.
This was the first and only time that we took our all wheel drive Astro, the lemon, down to the Everglades. The first few days were spent in changing out the alternator twice, both times in odd places in the park, while being eaten by mosquitoes. (Eventually we would have to replace the third alternator in February, 1995. After its engine burned up and we had it replaced, we were glad to sell it.)
Due to a very wet “dry season”, the wildlife was able to stay in remote parts of the park, far away from people. There was nothing to see at the usual haunts, such as the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm or around ECO Pond at Flamingo. It was on day 7 of the trip that we saw our first alligator for this vacation. Highly unusual.
Boardwalks over usually dry areas, such as Pa-Hay-Okee (“River of Grass”) were under many inches of water. It was the first time we’d ever seen an alligator at Pa-Hay-Okee, where it is usually dry during the dry season. Mosquitoes were particularly bad this time.
The main visitors center was being rebuilt, and mainly consisted of temporary buildings. We were surprised when we stopped there at one point to find Warren’s sister, Barbara, and her family there. They’d driven down from Southern Illinois to spend some time in Naples, Florida. But they’d taken a day to drive over to Everglades National Park to visit with the various Swan members (human variety). They went to supper with Joel and Dad Swan.
The Royal Palm visitors center had to have major work done on it because of Hurricane Andrew. And sadly, most of the stately Royal Palms there had either been knocked down entirely, or had been decapitated and left to die.
While looking for tree snails on the Pinelands Walking Trail we observed a cluster of little spiders. We were intently looking at them when we heard Amy screaming behind us. She’d walked backward and fell into a deep solution hole at a bend in the trail, right behind our backs.
We made friends with a family from Ohio in a neighboring site. The kids enjoyed playing with their granddaughter Allison. Our favorite evening campfire program was given by Frank Aramendez (sp?), originally from Spain. His talk was entitled “Mrs. Al E. Gator: Keeping Her Species Alive”. It was refreshing after so many other rangers talking about the history of the park and the reliance on fresh water, and so on. Frank seems to be the type who, late in life, will have forgotten more about the alligator than most folks ever know.
It was sad to see the Long Pine Key campground, and the various hammocks, so open to the hot sun, after losing so much of their canopies during hurricane Andrew. We swam at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo, which was also new to us.
This is our little Coco Nuts under a coconut tree at the Flamingo Visitors Center. →
We decided not to go all the way down to Key West on this vacation. We did spend time in the upper keys, visiting the Maritime Museum, Shell World, and The Museum of Natural History & Children’s Museum.
On the way home we stopped at an Army Surplus and Camping Store south of Macon. There we bought a Sun Dog Super Viza hiking pack, which Warren used for years.