The Major’s Walk-A-Thon: Special On-Location Edition – Everglades National Park

TODAY I visited Everglades National Park for the first time in modern history.

Here are my takeaways in 15 words or less:

– My ‘2009 Economic Stimulus Tour’ (of tourist attractions) continues.
– I kicked it off with an 8:40 AM visit to the Starbucks in Florida City.
– The first sign I saw at the park – ‘EXTREME FIRE DANGER‘.
– I was hoping that I wouldn’t see any out-of-control wildfires.
– The National Park Service doesn’t spend a lot of money on road maintenance.
– The top layer of the main road is peeling off exposing the concrete below.
– It was a nice day at the park – sort of cloudy with a refreshing wind.
– There weren’t a lot of people at the park today.
– I was part of the very few that wore shorts.
– Dude it’s not mosquito season yet.
– The’re still hibernating / incubating.
– The skeeters need the water, and there wasn’t much of it out there.
– The ground was so dry that it was cracking like scorched earth.
– It was the dryest winter season ever recorded since mankind’s been tracking it.
– If there’s no water in the solution holes then we must be in a drought.
– That’s because those holes reach the water table.
– I spent the first 45 minutes of my visit at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
– That’s a nice place, as I could have spent twice as long there.
– One sound you don’t hear inside the park – lawnmowers !
– It may not be mosquito season, but it certainly is bee season.
– They were buzzing (scaring) all around me in certain areas on the trails.
– None stung me, so that’s a good thing.
– I probably wouldn’t be here writing this if I had sustained a bee sting.
– If there’s a lot of people gathered then there must be a HUGE gator there.
– The gators were just chillin’ in the shallow end of the water.
– Some were tanning themselves on the shore with their mouths wide open.
– Gators are just like you and me !
– The Gumbo Limbo Trail reminded me of a place I played at as a kid.
– It was in the mid-1970s, and it was in the woods alongside my old ‘hood.
– Chuck and Keegan were two childhood friends of mine back then.
– They ran a territory on one side of the creek known as ‘Wolf Pack State’.
– I ran the territory on the other side of the creek.
– The Gumbo Limbo tree has peeling reddish bark.
– The Gumbo Limbo tree is just like you and me – a tourist with a sunburn !
– Everglades National Park formed out of Royal Palm State Park.
– It’s a vast wilderness – just like the U.S.A. once was.
– It smelled really good on the Mahogany Hammock Trail.
– The Everglades overall smelled really nice.
– It’s nature’s air freshener.
– Even the residue skunk smell was quite alright.
– You don’t know what nature sounds like until you visit the Everglades.
– All you need to do is sit down, keep quiet, and just listen.
– Noise pollution is not invited out there.
– Trees still provide abundant life to plants long after their death.
– Trees learned that from their Creator – Jesus – who does the same.
– It’s 60 miles on the dot from my home to Flamingo.
– I walked every half-mile trail from the park entrance to Florida Bay.
– This was the longest officially-sanctioned ‘Walk-A-Thon’ in history.
– I used no insect repellent at all.
– It wasn’t until the final trail in which I started to get bitten by bugs.
– It was also one of my favourite trails that I walked on.
– The bugs were alive and biting on the West Lake Boardwalk.
– I even saw a rare mosquito come close to my arm.
– A few ENORMOUS flies bit me.
– Now I feel like I really visited the Everglades !
– The bugs were there because the boardwalk went through a mangrove swamp.
– The ground was actually moist too.
– After that final trail I headed back to civilization / America’s Riviera.
– I made a pit stop at Mamma Mia.
– That’s right I ate there for the 2ND time in 7 days.
– It’s my new favourite sit-down restaurant in Homestead.
– I feel right at home there.
– I ate the mother of all MASSIVE meals big and small there this afternoon.
– That’s how I roll on a Saturday afternoon in late-April.
– My 111-mile round-trip excursion ended 7 hours after it started.
– I didn’t realize that I got a suntan / slight sunburn today.
– I realized it when I shaved after I got home.
– It stung a bit.
– It also didn’t help that I shaved directly over a few small insect bites.
– This day trip was so worth it.
– I’m visiting again next December or January.
– You can count on it !