Sunday, May 27, 2007

Everglades National Park - II

There is another thing Everglades is famous for and quite possibly why it is called everglades or sometimes the "river of grass".

The sawgrass found in the park is not stuck to the ground but is floating and making its way to the ocean continuously. The water flows slowly from a lake in the north to the Florida bay in the south, covering a distance of close to a 100 miles. Since the water is shallow and flows over limestone, the sawgrass found here is also flowing at a very slow rate (or so they say, because the rate at which it is flowing is so slow, that it was unnoticeable to the human eye).






The Skeleton Forest amidst the sawgrass

Endless views of this can be seen at the Pahayokee Overlook which is a boardwalk to a bridge that overlooks this "river of grass"




A bridge across nowhere - to the Pahayokee Overlook

Also interesting is the Mahagony Hammock trail. Its a boardwalk to a small hammock (small groups of trees) which is home to the oldest mahogany tree in US. Such hammocks are a common sight - while driving through the park you can see a lot of them floating among the everglades or the sawgrass.



The hammock islands in the floating sawgrass

When the hammocks run into the ocean they become part of the Ten Thousand Islands. The islands or rather islets (they are small groups of mangroves, that have detached from the main land and are so small that they are mostly uninhabitable) are not 10,000 in number, but they are numerous enough and are just called so.

Remember a picture I posted earlier - those islands in the distance are some of the Ten Thousand Islands.

We could afford only a day in the Everglades National Park and went from the Royal Palms Visitor Center to the Flamingo Vistor Center, taking short walks/trails along the way. We ended our day at the Park at the Flamingo center where we took a boat ride through the mangroves in the park.


Mangroves - interesting roots

3 comments:

Bendtherulz said...

Quite interesting - so your trip was on a weekend...!!

shilpa/eon said...

Everglades NP is a place I want to visit someday. Nice account of your activities. How many days would you say is ideal to explore the park?

Pooja Aggarwal said...

@bendtherulz: It was over an extended weekend - 3 days. I was already in the Orlando area for work during the week and decided to extend the stay to visit Epcot and Everglades.

@shilpa: Thanks. We explored only one section of the park and did all this in a day at a relaxed pace. Should you want to kayak or explore other sections of the park, you will definitely need another day.