This is a trip report of a 2 day adventure in the Everglades. 4 ladies tackled the Tamiami Trail Triathlon. This is a non-competitive event sponsored by the National Park to encourage people to explore the different habitats in the 'Glades. While it could be done in one day if you are really fit, spreading over two days allowed us to "stop and smell the sawgrass" along the way.
Day 1 - Saturday - We left Miami about 730 AM. With a stop for gas and stop and go traffic on US 41 due to on-going construction, we arrived at Shark Valley at 830. The parking lot was almost empty and we were the first to sign up for bike rentals. The bikes have wide seats and no gears. Perfect for the flat 15 miles ahead. We had baskets on 2 of the bikes to hold water, cameras, and as the day warmed, our jackets. Lots of great wildlife. Baby alligators, big alligators, tons of birds including wood storks and a flock of roseate spoonbills. The road was so quiet that we could hear the spoon bills putting their beaks in the water. The ride took about 2 hours including stops to see critters and a walk up the observation tower. The bike rental was $22. We all had a wonderful time and want to come back and repeat this ride. The key is the early start. By the time we left, there were cars lined up to get in and some folks were parking on the main road.
We had packed lunches so stopped at the midway campground to enjoy them. Then off to Big Cypress Oasis Center for a 3.1 mile hike. The center is right in the road and worth a stop for everyone. Lots of gators in the canal in front. The hike was a bit of a disappointment. Most of it is on a gravel road that was hard to walk on. It you follow in my trail footsteps, turn around and double back when you get to the road OR pick one of the other hikes on the Trail. Probably 1.5 hours here. Free.
At the suggestion of the ranger at Shark Valley, we took the boat ride out of the Everglades City visitor center. We all enjoyed this -- getting a peek at the kayaking for tomorrow plus lots of cool wildlife. Baby osprey in the nest and "teen" osprey taking first flights. Well narrated. All ages should enjoy this ride.
We checked into Everglades City Motel (separate review). I picked because each room had two beds. Clean and comfy. Would go back.
After cleaning up from our active day, we headed to Camellia Street restaurant. It was a perfect night to sit outside, listen to the live music and relax. Next up......a kayak adventure.