Everglades National Park is unique among world structures as it’s a 50 mile wide very slow fresh water river that goes from central Florida to the Atlantic. I forgot that Florida was hot and tooling around the Visitor Center reminded me of such so I headed into the park looking for something more photogenic. I stopped almost nowhere on the way in knowing that I’d have to take the same path out of the park but took a moment when no cars seemed to be coming to try to get a panoramic of the coastal prairie. This is a not-quite-marshy area of glassland that runs in a large strip across the center of the park and is rife with what appear to be dwarf pine trees that, despite the surfeit of water, seem to be parched or fire damaged.
Yes, normally panoramics don’t look like this, but photoshop did not enjoy the narrow pieces and blending didn’t turn out right. I like effect and it reminds me of a deck of fanned cards.
I made it to the Atlantic coast and was reminded how unspectacular the ocean can be when the view is dotted with islands and the coastal plain only makes a slow march through the brackish waters of where the great slow river hits salt.
Off to the left it looks like there’s an elderly person painting but don’t be fooled. It was someone wrapped in a blanket simply staring at a blank piece of something that looked like foam board wrapped.
On the way back out, I saw the trees briefly part for a good view of one of the still places in the Everglades where enough silt had been deposited to stop the flow of water in that little region. As I approached, I noticed I felt the sting of a mosquito and then looked to see a half dozen on my arm. By the time I got the picture I wanted I had probably been bit 20-30 times and my blood pressed from the dead mosquitoes formed the photographic equivalent of war paint.
Midway along the path leading through the coastal plain there’s an observation tower that rises about 2 stories above the marsh. The view is almost barren but the stark simplicity is striking as this is a large dynamic ecosystem that is almost invisible to the human eye. The board walk swarmed with people squinting with cameras, not sure of what to take a picture.
If the lower right were cropped out, the terrain could be mistaken for prairie.
I headed to Biscayne National Park next, wanting to commission a canoe to take pictures in their coastal mangrove areas. The manned areas of the park close promptly at 5 so my 5:10 arrival time was to a ghost town. I walked along the beach dotted with people fishing and a slowly expanding slick of hydrocarbons from the docking boats. A man was peppering a NPS fellow with questions and was happy to learn National Parks were BYOB.
The facilities were nice, and the spray and scent of salt water was alien to me but the vast low waters of the Atlantic were inviting.
If only I had brought a canoe.