Big Cypress National Preserve

A little exploration of a nearby treasure.
 My friend Caroline, fellow artist and adventuress, and I left our island for a day and went north to explore a side road in Big Cypress National Preserve. We took Krome Avenue north and then hung a left on 41 towards Shark Valley. The road we were interested in is a little known, little used side arm along 41 that makes a loop right through Big Cypress. It’s called Loop Road, or 94 on the map, and it took us past a Miccosukee or Seminole residential area. We already had glimpses of cypress and water but it becomes really scenic where the road changes to unpaved. Every few miles, there is an opening, where the road is undercut to allow the water to run freely. Big Cypress is a bit more elevated than the Everglades but it still has lots of fresh water flowing through.

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We stopped a few times to just take it in and admire the cypress trees and count alligators and birds. Our first real stop, though, was the snail trail. Before stepping not the path, we watch this bird watch an alligator watch the bird…

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Snail trail loop:

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We only saw three snails but here they are.

And air plants everywhere. February and March are the best months to see the airplanes blooming in south Florida.

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Stealthy gators every where. This one I nearly stepped on when I got close to the water line to take the above image. The gator scrambled and swam away quickly. I scrambled and jumped away quickly. The gator was fairly quiet about it, me – not so much. Stop laughing, Caroline!

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And then we came across some fishing folk. This little girl caught a little fish while we were watching. She probably didn’t even need her superwoman outfit.

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This hawk was watching the action. I was watching him, hoping he’d fly down and give me cool photo op.

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Another catch, from the water on the right.

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And one of the fisher men showed us this freakishly small, hand tied lure.

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Our hawk is still watching us.

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I asked on of the anglers to entice the hawk so I can get my shot and we can move on. The bird is definitely interested.

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And there he went. Don’t ask if I was ready.

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Meanwhile, Caroline got busy going fishing herself. To the great delight of the men folk.

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We saw lots of birds, herons, cranes, and others.

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At the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center, the alligators are sunning themselves. It’s a great place to safely observe them and a pretty sure bet that you’ll see them here.

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More info:

Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center (NPS)

Big Cypress National Preserve (Wikipedia)

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