February 8 – 9 – Our First Week in Naples

Wednesday was another planned and successfully executed “down” day.

As she did for one of our immediate neighbors back in Langhorne a couple of years ago, she spotted water pouring from the motor home next to us.  I was able to turn the water off and the campground tracked down the owner who was “out” at the time of the incident. The cause was a faulty valve in their electric toilet.  Fortunately, no serious damage but it will take a couple of days for the new part and for their bedroom carpet to dry out.

Thursday, we headed east on the Tamiami Trail.

Our first stop was on a detour south to Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island.  Separated by a causeway, both bill themselves as a gateway to the Wilderness Waterway of some 10,000 islands which dot the southwest coast of Florida.  Everglades City, initially founded as a company town built as a county seat and construction of the Tamiami Trail, boasts a very interesting museum which includes four short videos highlighting the history of the area.

Back eastbound on the Tamiami Trail we came across a 7’3” x 8’ building which is the smallest post office in the world. Earlier this year, we had a chance to see the second smallest in Chicken, Alaska.

Our plans to travel through the Everglades then were postponed when we entered Big Cypress National Preserve, 2,400 square miles of subtropical Florida covered by miles of canals, sandy islands, estuarial mangrove forests, hardwood hammocks (tree islands), grass prairies,

cypress domes,

slash pines … and an abundance of wildlife.

Taking a washboard rutted gravel road into the heart of the Big Cypress, we must have seen at least 100 or moreold and young … at a distance and up-close and personal.

There were also countless

Florida Red-bellied Turtles

Anhingas

Ibis

Immature Ibis

Great Blue Herons

Common Gallinule

Great Egrets

Wood Storks

Pied-billed Grebes

Snowy Egrets and Green Herons

and even

White Peieridea Butterflies

And then was a sign in front of the local residents’ homes (many of which looked like they were sets for “Deliverance” or the History Channel’s series, “Swamp Men”.

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