2014-11-22 Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail - paddling is the "must-do" in the everglades

Our last day in the everglades, we were very lucky to go out on the free ranger-lead canoe trip at Nine Mile Pond. Despite intermittent pouring rain, it was a lot of fun. Paddled through mangrove tunnels, sawgrass prairie, and several ponds. At the end of the trail, we saw one really big alligator, but did not see the 13-foot crocodile who resides in that pond. Great experience and would love to do more!

The waiting vultures - the ranger warned us all to move our vehicles out of the Nine Mile Pond parking lot onto the main road - apparently the vultures will have a hayday stripping all the rubber from your windows, but they leave the cars on the roadway alone.

Getting ready to launch

Through the mangroves - the largest continuous system of mangroves in the world

The ranger pointed out plant and animal species along the way

listening intently

Through sawgrass prairie - the "River of Grass"

Paddling through the thicker grasses was like riding your bicycle with the brakes on

Pouring rain

It poured intermittently through about half our paddle

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