National Park out and about

Shark Valley Florida

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After the Everglades we moved into a park in Miami. We really didn’t think we would find anything, especially anything reasonable, but Larry and Penny Thompson County Park had spots for as long as a month and cheaper than most places we stay where we pay weekly. We got lucky and showed up when it was fairly empty and got a place all the way in the back with our own private yard and facing some brushy palmetto area. With the truck parked perpendicular to the front of the trailer, it blocks our awning and yard area from everyone else and we feel pretty much alone, as we like it. The park holds something like 250 RV’s plus tent campers so having some privacy could have been hard if we didn’t just have great luck sometimes. We decided to stay a month because, although we look forward to snow, theres no rush, and there are tons of things we haven’t seen in south Florida yet and ran out of time in the Everglades (you only get 2 weeks a year there sadly, though we may try to sneak back in).
Our first weekend at Larry and Penny, we headed to Shark Valley just 40 or so miles away towards, directly inland on the top side of the Everglades. We took the bikes to ride the 15 mile loop, expecting to see Alligators all over the road like we have in pictures, but we certainly got to see enough of them without having to worry about falling off our bikes or having our path blocked completely.
There were moms with babies, juveniles and small adults everywhere, making for some pretty great photo ops but the best encounter was when, about halfway through the bike ride, we decided to walk down a trail into a Hammock, and after about 100 yards of walking, I joked that there should be alligators draped across the trail at least, and just as we turned a corner, there were! All large adults resting on the trail where it met with a large pond. We counted about 6 but couldn’t really see around the next bend and there may have been more.
The bike ride was long but easy, except for my seat being uncomfortable due to my camera box being strapped onto my behind the seat bike rack. It was worth it though because it held my excellent quality, 4lb medium format camera and I got some great shots of the alligators on the trail (which will eventually be developed).
Here’s what I have on digital:

Alligators on trail in Shark Valley

Alligators on trail in Shark Valley

Arranging a nice place to lay

Arranging a nice place to lay

Young Alligator

Young Alligator


Babies on a log

Young Alligator

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  • WOAH!! they were just chilling out like that?? and you could freely go near them? i love the picture of the 3 babies. FOr some reason it looks like a close up of small little reptiles in a pond.

  • Did you see any when you were here? They don’t do much of anything unless harassed, protecting their babies or they think you are food, flopping in the water.. which rarely happens. People usually get bit being jerks or harassing them, like those bastards with the alligator farms…
    The babies were the cutest but the adults are so damn pretty. I should have been a biologist I think..