2014-11-19 Goodbye to the keys! To Flamingo Campground in Florida Everglades National Park

We finally are going to stay in this national park...four nights at Flamingo Campground. The Florida Everglades have been designated a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. This park is incredibly vast and unique, and a home to many endangered species that are found nowhere else.

For our visit, we were very lucky to have a cold front and wet weather, instead of the opposite. The rangers told us the bugs were not nearly as bad as usual. I was being very careful too...

Still, I managed to get over a dozen mosquito bites on one foolish hike. Wore a long-sleeve shirt and heavy blue jeans, and thought I was adequately sprayed; got no bites on my hands, face, and neck but...I failed to spray my SHIRT, and they bit right through it, all over my arms. Cursed little blood suckers. Avoid grassy trails in the keys!

We took the inflatable kayak out on Florida Bay, attended a couple of very informative ranger talks, and also did a free ranger-lead canoe trip (they provide the canoes - what a deal) which was the highlight of our visit. Amazingly, did not have mosquito problems when paddling - between the wind, rain, mosquito fish, and lovely bladder wort, the mosquitos are minimal out on the water.

Ran into another Jolly Roger friend the morning we were pulling out of Flamingo. He was on his way into the keys and we were on our way out!

our camp site at Flamingo - practically had the place to ourselves

Between Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, the Flamingo Lodge and cabins are gone; the park is still repairing other damage as well

Paddling out of the marina, lots of bird life in Florida Bay

A night heron and, on the left - a Roseate Spoonbill

The Roseate Spoonbills seemed shy - it was difficult to get a good shot of them!

Ibis and Spoonbill together

Trying to get a flying shot, as their wings really show the pink!

Beginning of the manmade Buttonwood Canal at Flamingo Marina, leading to Coot Bay and eventually to Whitewater Bay and 10,000 islands, paddling trails all the way up to Everglades City

Osprey are everywhere - a master bird of prey!

Done paddling for the day

And here's where I went wrong...big mistake...HUGE

short grassy trail around a pond

walkiing in the grass kicks up the mosquitos and they are HUNGRY!

I calculate I got at least 3 mosquito bites for each picture....

Not really worth the price

Much better trail - paved from the campground to the visitor center, along the waterfront

Osprey surveying its territory from the nest

the ever-present vultures, and some brave tent campers (couldn't pay me enough to tent camp here, on the grass...not a chance)

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