We’ve moved our base of operations ten miles east of Marco Island to Collier-Seminole State Park. While the park doesn’t offer much in the way of a “camping” experience it puts us in easy striking distance for the numerous parks in the Everglades.
The campground is on the western edge of the Everglades nestled up to a mangrove swamp, popular with canoeists and kayakers. The Tamiami Trail (Rt. 41)was developed in the twenties using a technological advancement that made it possible to break up the oolitic limestone that forms the bedrock of the Everglades. Manufactured in Bay City Michigan this dredge was used to break up and pile limestone chunks to create a road connecting the west and east coast of Florida. We took a scenic drive through the Big Cypress Swamp, a loop drive off US 41.
This water teams with life. Hundreds of fish make the surface boil, alligators lurk beneath and birds stalk the fringes – often perched on cypress knees.
Further to the east is Shark Valley In Everglades National Park. Here is a fifteen mile paved bike path which takes you through a “river of grass” bordered by canals thick with alligators. The Everglades NP is the largest nature preserve east of the Mississippi (1.3 million acres).
Seven miles out on the trail is an observation tower. We parked our bikes and walked up the tower. When we returned we met this clever crow who figured out how to work a zipper and snag what was stashed away. He(she) got away with out graham crackers. On the way back to camp we stopped to mail a package.
This building was pressed into service in the 1950’s. Once a shed for irrigation pumps, it is now the post office for Ochopee- and since last fall’s hurricane- the only one in the area with a working scale. In fact this area was hit hard in the last hurricane – you can see evidence of it everywhere.We took a day and drove up to Fort Myers to check out the Edison & Ford Estates. It was a full day of wandering the exhibits and grounds. The estates sit on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.
Pool AreaOne of Edison’s labs
Then there are the beaches on Marco Island.
Our shelling haul