Ever...Glades, aptly named...
As that River of Grass, as Marjorie Stoneman Douglass called it, does seem to flow on forever, dotted with small tree islands.
We settled in at Long Pine Key Campground, in the northern part of the park.Set upon a limestone ridge:
Thistle made himself comfortable.There will be many places to explore in the park, but my first was to Royal Palm, named for the regal trees that grow there.
It was late afternoon, and I chose the Anhinga Trail, saving the Gumbo Limbo Trail for another visit.The trail starts out alongside this "borrow pit" which was dredged for building the road.
About that dredging...
The old Ingraham Highway allows only foot traffic today...humans and birds. The first birds you see are the black vultures. There is a sign in the parking lot about the potential damage they can do to your cars. They are attracted to the rubber around your windshield and your wiper blades.
But the trail lives up to its name...there are many Anhingas. This is a male, drying its wings.
Female feeding a baby in a nest.
Better view of the baby.
And you thought you had bad hair days.
You can see why Anhingas are sometimes called snake birds.
But the trail is not all about the Anhingas...there's the Great Blue Herons,
More Cormorants nesting,Belted Kingfishers,
Little Blue Herons,
Alligators, oh my!
And the Night Heron heralded in the night..
That was the end of the first day.