David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
08/20  Let's hike Florida!
08/24  Welcome to the Conch Republic!
08/24  Goodbye, Key West
08/25  Live and learn
08/26  Wade to breakfast
08/26  The dogs are barking.
08/27  Ba-HE-ah
08/28  Stealth Camping II
08/29  Who let the hogs out?
08/30  Walk a hundred miles in my shoes
08/31  Goodbye, Keys
09/02  I AM the minority
09/03  Easy come, easy go
09/04  So what is an aquacate?
09/05  Almost there
09/06  Wisdom or Cowardice?
09/07  The smell that protects
09/08  The Florida Trail!
09/10  Radio Resurrection
09/10  To the Horizon and Beyond!
09/11  Day on the Dikes
09/12  Hat Number Three
09/13  Just another day.
09/14  The Everglades
09/14  Good day for critters
09/15  Camping With Cows
09/16  The sounds of airboats in the night.
09/17  The grass really IS greener on the other side.
09/18  Some Math
09/19  Four days until Christmas!
09/20  Hard day, mentally.
09/21  Plan B
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Wisdom or Cowardice?


Loop Road, near West end (25.8214 N, 81.1 W)Loop Road is a long, wet road. But it cuts right through the Everglades, and that makes it interesting.

My goal in waking up this morning was to hike the twelve remaining miles to the Florida Trail trailhead and then proceed down the trail for 3 miles where the first campsite exists.

While walking along, I met a guy named Benny who has been hunting these parts since the 50s. According to him, the water is currently as high as he's seen in three years. Because of that, the alligators have mostly moved out of the canals into the backcountry. He had an eleven-footer stalking him recently while hunting. I could expect water up past my chest on the trail. There are weeds so nasty that the Indians used to use them to torture people. The water is good for drinking, unfiltered. And he does not recommend hiking that route.

A little further down the road, I met up with a ranger named Jake. He'd been down every trail in Southern Florida. According to him, the alligators wouldn't bother you. Don't be afraid to drink the water as he's never known anybody to get sick from it. And the water on the trail could be up to my shoulders, especially if I got off the trail.

I always say, stick to the plan. Unless there is a good reason not to, stick to the plan.

So I ambled on down the road (which at this point is half flooded, but rarely more than six inches deep) until I reached the trailhead. It's very uninspiring. Just a gap in the foliage revealing a trail heading off through the cypress, a foot and a half under water right from the start. I ate some lunch, drank some water, took a quick bath, and bid ado to the Florida Trail trailhead and kept on heading West along Loop Road.

Yep, I passed it by. My new plan: Hike Loop Road back to Tamiami Trail. Hike North on Turner River Road. Walk a very miserable East along Interstate 75 until I meet up with the Florida Trail again. If it's still too deep, I'll continue East until I hit the Levy 28, which I can follow North to a more hospitable length of the Florida Trail. Basically, I'm road-walking all the way around the Everglades.

Critters: Well, there was a rat on my hammock last night. I wish I still had my Field Guide so I could identify the many birds and fish that are here. You would not believe the number of raccoons in the swamp--and all of them scrawny. There was also a small herd of small deer.

I had two cars stop and tell me there was an alligator in the road ahead of me (one lady stared at my in utter bewilderment when I told her I planned to camp back in here). Just before I got to the alligator, there was a splashing off in the water and some of the most horrific snarling and growling imaginable. So, of course, I try to get a better look. Turns out it's nothing more than water flowing beneath the road. You know that sound your bathtub makes when the last bit of water gurgles down the drain? Like that, only more so.

Anyway, when I finally got to the alligator, it splashed its way off the road into the water in a real hurry. It was only seven or eight feet long. They really are afraid of people (unless people feed them).

That's the only gator I saw all day. I heard a bunch as they would jump into the water just short of my arrival. I even had one near the hammock last night that bolted when I made too much noise during the night.

Once again, my camping choices are extremely limited. There is absolutely no dry ground here, save for the road sometimes. I found some trees beside the road to hook the hammock up to. I'm almost out over deep water. Fortunately, my butt is hanging about three feet above the ground.

Tomorrow: more road walking. Goody.

Loop Road

see the gator?

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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