Before heading back to Stuart, the Captain and I decided to make a stop at the Everglades. On arrival at the parking lot, interestingly enough, visitors are encouraged to wrap their cars in a tarp which is provided by the Ranger station. The tarps are handy in preventing, not alligators, but the vultures from scratching and pecking at the paint job on your vehicle. Hmmmmm.
With the car wrapped we headed down the trail and got very excited when we spied an 18 inch alligator. What we didn't realize is as you continue down the trail the foliage grows denser and denser and the wildlife grow bigger and bigger. So by the time we reached the interior section of the trail we were spotting plenty of 5 foot + gators, ducks, various birds and of course, vultures. Very cool!
From there we took the road south towards the bay and the Flamingo Visitor Center. There we were able to see two crocodiles and yes - wait for it - two of the ever elusive manatee. Pictured is a shot of the baby manatee. Unfortunately his/her back is scarred with propeller markings. (Christopher, I still remain awed by the manatee photo you got while in the bay.)
Heading back north towards the north gate of the park we stopped at several of the trailheads along the way enjoy the varying terrain of the park -plains, mangroves, forest - quite amazing.
Once outside the park we spotted a produce stand and decided to stop and see if they had any interesting munchies. The lot outside the stand had lots of cars, but it didn't prepare us for the mass of people inside. The produce looked great but the most popular offering appeared to be the fruit milkshakes they offered. We decided to splurge and have one. Once we placed out order - #41 - we were told they were currently serving #4. Holy cow. No wonder the crush of people! Despite the wait, we were lucky when we arrived when we did because not long after placing our order a long line began forming to take orders for milkshakes. As we watched the crowd build we could only imagine that this was going to be a mighty fine milkshake.
And it was!!! A papaya key lime milkshake. Excellent choice and worth the wait. But it was time to head back to Stuart, return the car and get back into our normal routine. But you know us, normal isn't so normal. So just wait until you find out some of the interesting new activities we've added to the schedule.