Well, I have not been fishing much but I have been having a great time with my family. I guess I will try to go to a few piers or jetties in the short future. In the meantime I have been bicycling in Shark Valley State Park just off US 41 (Tamiami Trail/SW 8th ST), yes many names on that road. The trail is a 15 mile (24 kilometers) paved trail and also has some off the road unpaved trails and a decked trail. Winter in South Florida as we all know does not regularly go below 50 degrees and is usually in the 70’s and 80’s. When it gets below 80 degrees you will see more than the regular 5 to ten alligators basking in the sun. My wife and daughters count how many gators we see as we pedal through the trail, on the last outing the count was about 30 of them and the temperature was just below 80f. This is tourist high season so as the brochure suggested if renting a bike make reservations before you get there or be prepared to wait over an hour as it takes about three hours to complete the paved trail. If you go you should never miss going the tower as it is an awesome nature lovers view. In the winter we get big congregations of migratory birds. As I write there hasn’t been much rain so many of the trails that were closed soon will open. The low water levels have brought many Wood Storks and Herons so you will be able to see them in action as they comb through the Everglades mud. The first time we went I had an old Schwinn Mesa Runner bike and didn’t realize that it was not shifting until my poor wife kept getting behind and I had to circle back to her and one of my daughters. We ended switching bikes back and forth until her and my daughter ended the trail walking. Well I got another bike and all was great after that especially since we got some of tools we needed to make the trail (so I thought). The first few times we were only doing 4 miles an hour, LOL I know we are way out of shape but we are getting there, we are now averaging 12 to 14 miles an hour with winds pushing us back a little. Good thing to remember is to always wear a helmet, I know is uncomfortable but I always push people to wear them. So far my daughter and I had to use them and were glad we did. On the last outing my middle came from Ohio so we had to take the old Schwinn again and even though we spent 3 hours fixing it the cables came loose again and we all ended trading bikes back and forth, I don’t think we ended going any higher then 5 miles an hour and we did drink all our water. Usually we take about two 24 ounce bottles for each of us, but this time we needed 3 per person. It was hell getting back after the cables got loose on the old bike, so I will have to add a small good set of pliers in case that ever happens again. The old bike is going to need some major changes as it is about 20 years old.
As you see the gators you would think that the horror stories of these animals being human killers are true, well, don’t get to comfy getting that picture of them or with them as they sure are very fast to act and are great short sprint runners. Below is are a few shots of how and where they might be basking in the sun.
On the East Side of Shark Valley
Besides watching out for Alligators you should watch out for the birds specially the Crows that have learned to open book bags and any Bycicle bag with zippers on them. The have become pros at doing so and help polluting the Everglades without knowing so.
Below are some Heron pics for you to enjoy. Nothing beats going to see them in action. Also the Wood Storks are coming in bigger numbers now. They don’t usually let you sneak up on them for a pick so take a nice zoom lens. These pics were taken with a point and shoot camera.
The older bicycle rental shack was torn down and a new building was set in place. Looks nice and they still place some shade for you to wait your turn at a bike.
Another thing to mention is that the park tries to run as efficient and as eco friendly as possible. Shown below is the rain water collector. The rest rooms run water free so do not expect an odor free restroom. Prepare to hold your breath and finish as fast as possible. I feel pity for anyone needing to do #2 in there, LOL.
The Trams are there for those not willing to pedal the 15 miles.
Getting Here with my wife and daughter.
After we finished at Shark Valley, my son-in-law and my daughter wanted to try some gator nuggets so we stopped at one of many airboat ride/restaurants along the way.