Our deck area is so inviting that we had a hard time getting motivated to do anything but lounge in the shade of the large tree that sits in the center of the yard. We decided to paddle across the bay and explore a ways up the Turner River. I thought I had the tide dialed in to help us on the way out then switch halfway through and assist coming back in. It might have worked out that way but when we got to the mouth of the river the wind was blowing hard and the current was sucking us in hard. We were worried that we might not be able to fight the current if we went too far in so we decided to turn back and follow the channel that runs up the road side of the bay into Halfway Creek. It was hard going fighting the elements to get back out into the bay. We sprinted from mangrove islet to mangrove islet to hide on the leeward side and finally got back along the mangroves lining the bay and worked our way into Halfway Creek.
Fast moving water
Battling the current
From there the going was a lot easier and we cruised with little effort taking a break and sipping our Cytomax. We came upon an area where the mangroves made a tunnel overhead and had to get on our knees to work our way through. Unfortunately, in this part of the bay there was very little wildlife to see. Most people enter the Turner River miles up the Everglades and that area is better known for having things to see. Or maybe it’s just the stormy weather we’ve been experiencing lately. We had a great paddle, two hours of differing waterscapes with some stretches of hard effort and intensity and times of leisurely touring. We circumnavigated the resort to see the waterfront lots and the housing development on the other side before returning to camp.
We cruised over to the swimming pool and jumped in to rinse the salt water off of our bodies. The water was refreshing and the resort keeps things nice and clean. I guess it’s easy with no guests.
In the afternoon, we drove the few miles into Everglades City. Same as the RV park, it was a total ghost town. We dropped in at the Everglades National Park office and had a look at their exhibits while chatting with Jacob, the ranger on duty. He gave some good background on the Everglades and ongoing water issues that have been caused by draining and closing off the natural aquifers and water flow. The office was in a small temporary building since the original center had been destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017. We wandered the grounds for a while then took off to take a joy ride and see what we would see.
We ended up in Naples by accident and stopped at a Ross and bought some shorts for each of us. We had fun shopping around and grabbing a few new items of clothing to wear then hitting the Michael’s next door for some art supplies to work on a few projects. For some reason even a minimal amount of shopping drains me and we were soon done and heading back towards Chokoloskee. As we were passing Big Cypress Park, we spotted the trailhead we had missed when we got lost into Naples and pulled in to check it out.
We hiked a short way up Marsh Trail to the observation tower being chased and harassed by those nasty green headed deer flies. When we climbed the steps, the greenheads seemed to lose track of us. It was close to sundown and we watched as hundreds of birds came flying in from their day’s work to roost in the trees of the Everglades. It was a sight to see as more and more birds just kept pouring in. We could see gator snouts breaking the surface of the water with gars and tilapia just below the surface. We were the only people for miles. We stayed watching until dark then tried to outrun the greenheads getting back to the car, aggressive bloodsuckers! We’ve explored the Everglades from both coasts of Florida now east and west.
We sat out on the deck overlooking the bay until a few too many noseeums convinced us to move inside. Another quiet night in Chokoloskee.