Funny thing...when we arrived, several folks had just completed a guided walk to find turkey vultures had destroyed the rubber and plastic stripping on their windshields and tops of their car (one man had his jeep attacked) while they were out having a glorious time. The ranger said this had been happening for a while, and the vultures were showing the same behavior in the Everglades. In the Everglades, people brought plastic bags to put over their windshield wipers, and tarps were provided. All this made my husband nervous because we had a rental car. So, he stayed behind. This sounds bad, but he had a fabulous time taking tons of pictures of the alligators and herons and egrets that made the area around the parking lot their home. I ventured out alone and probably had the biggest reward of my continuous search for trails in Southern Florida.
What a beautiful, quiet, isolated trail! Unlike Corkscrew, which we visited the previous day and loved, now you walk on the ground, on the same level as the wildlife. Honest-I almost stepped on an alligator not 2 feet off the trail! Satisfied that he was sound asleep, and fully conscious of the many "Leave the alligators alone" signs dotting the beginning of the trail, I took a few pictures and quietly went on my way. Because I was alone, there were only the sounds of the birds and rodents and mammals to delight my ears-some of which I could see, and some only hear in all the underbrush of the marsh. This marsh is teeming with animals. The same herons, egrets, hawks and other birds from the parking lot area of course also live in this rookery, and I was rewarded with their song and calls throughout. I only ventured a couple of miles in, not wanting to leave my husband for too long, but I would definitely return, armed with a tarp, to explore the further miles of this stunning location again. The path goes on for many many miles-maybe even 12-and I highly recommend you visit this extraordinary place. It differs from Six Mile Cypress Slough and Corkscrew, for example, because you have a path rather than a boardwalk-and it's much less populated by humans. It's unique from Lover's Key, because you are slightly more inland. So many choices!
One side note-as soon as we left the area and pulled into a parking lot to contemplate our next exploration, we were hit by a car trying to back into the space next to us. In that same rental car!