Thursday, March 23, 2017

#37 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - Flamingo, Everglades National Park, Florida

I am actually posting this on Thursday morning, but it was written yesterday. I am again at the Flamingo Visitor Center using the wifi and looking out over Florida Bay toward the Keys and the Caribbean. A dolphin keeps surfacing about 50 yards out and I'm watching a pelican fishing. It is high tide, but numerous sea birds are gathered at the sandbar that becomes exposed at low tide ...

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Greetings from Everglades National Park. I type this interrupted by scratching at my itchy bites.

It is midday Wednesday (happy hump day) and I just returned from a morning on the trails (see Instagram selfie). The first thing I did when I got back to the Wheelhouse was grab by clippers and buzz all my head and facial hair off. I was long overdue for a haircut and it was almost at a length where I’d need to buy a comb. My chin hairs were getting longer too. Less hair – less sweat and bites and more hot weather comfort. Genetics don’t allow me to wear my hear long anyway.

The mosquitoes are brutal. I wear all Insect Shield impregnated clothing and a Buff Insect Shield/UV protecting face and neck mask beneath an Insect Shield treated mosquito net over my bug spray soaked Tilly hat. That is after drowning myself in a sperm-killing and cancer-inducing amount of deet repellent. If you stand still the buzzing hordes reach cacophony levels and engulf you. I hiked around the Eco Pond (1/2 mile loop) and then hiked out to Christian Point at Snake Bight on Florida Bay (1.8 miles each way). On the latter I collected three species of spider that I am going to photograph in my little studio setup back here at the campsite. My gear keeps away the mosquitoes well, but just opening the doors to the truck or the RV lets some in and those are the buggers that get me, often when I am sleeping or driving into town.

I captured more images of ospreys and red-shouldered hawks today and saw manatees near the Marina Store again. Crocodiles can almost always be sighted near the store and I stop there once or twice a day. Next door is the visitor’s center, which I visit two or three times a day for wifi. Only AT&T users get cell phone signal here. The park entrance to camp at Flamingo is 40 miles. If I drive about two thirds of the way out I get weak signal and by the entrance I have full 4G LTE.

The mosquitoes are driving people away and the campgrounds are increasingly deserted. There are three tent site loops, but they’ve allowed one to grow over in the past year because it is tough to spend time in a tent here and camping numbers haven’t met expectations. The RV loop has over 60 sites. It was perhaps half full when I arrived, but now it is very empty due to ferocious bugs and it being midweek.

I’ve made friends with the ranger at the campground entrance (Joe) and he gave me all the days I paid for even though I arrived one day late. I then extended it by two nights (until Friday morning). I will be back at Kissimmee Prairie on Sunday so I still have to figure out where I will spend Friday and Saturday nights. I may stay at an RV park either on Key Largo or back up at Okeechobee near KPPSP. I’ll give them a call when I go back to wifi to send this. Actually, I may send this and do some other online stuff via cell when I drive north through the park later. I may cruise the roads here after sunset to look for snakes. If I am in my trailer at sunset I tend to just kick back with a beer and a movie and relax and then don’t go back out.

I am looking forward to my return to Kissimmee. I just love it there and its location allows access to some other areas that I will visit this time. I also really need to finish my BTS work and it is a great place to just sit at a picnic table with my laptop. The pest bugs were a non issue in my previous stays and I hope that continues. My final stay there will take me to the end of March and then April will see me point the rig toward Texas.


M

3 comments:

  1. Enjoying catching up with your blog - my old mate. Deeply envious of this new lifestyle.

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    1. Glad that you're among the audience Andrew. I'm having a blast and disappearing into the wild. Itching to get west into tarantula and rattlesnake country soon. Cheers mate. MJ

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