Traveling in an RV is not camping. It’s more like living in a portable studio apartment. We have all the comforts of home: microwave, satellite TV, full bath, computers, internet and access to a full range of media. Except when you get into someplace like the Everglades. Then it’s a whole new ballgame. We were at the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park, the Southern tip of the Florida mainland 60 miles from the nearest town and about 180 miles from Havana, Cuba. We had no water, sewer, cellphones, internet, TV or newspapers. We did have electric and, so we discovered, plenty of time. You don’t realize how much of your day is spent chained to all this electronic media until you suddenly have it all taken away. It’s enough to strike fear in our wired-up hearts.
I’m a morning person, an early riser. My normal routine is to grab a cup of coffee and fire up the laptop. There’s email to check, the New York Times to read, blogs to follow, bills to pay. The TV is usually on as well, tuned into Morning Joe or CNN allowing me to multi task as I catch up with the overnight news. Not so fast…we’re in the Everglades. Instead I had to sit outside and enjoy a sunrise with my coffee. I had time to stroll to Eco Pond and photograph the birds diving for their breakfast. The days were full. We hiked, we fished, we canoed, we read, we talked. We had no idea what was transpiring out there in the “real world” and oddly enough we liked it. There’s not much stress in watching a sunset instead of the nightly news.
Everglades National Park is defined by water. Historically it was a freshwater river, a few feet deep, 50 miles wide that gently crept along an 80 mile course from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. Draining, dredging and development halted and redirected its flow. Today the park covers 2300 plus square miles, a million and a half acres, a half million of which is underwater. What a great place to escape to. We found acres of sawgrass prairie, mangrove estuary, mudflats, pine, buttonwood and cypress forests, wading birds, shorebirds and crocodiles. We were told the wetlands are being overrun with invasive pythons that have been dumped by their inconsiderate owners…fortunately we didn’t run across any. What we did see follows. Click on the photograph to see more.