Since we’re staying all the way down here in the Everglades, I decided this was a perfect opportunity for us to go back. If we could have flown like a bird, or taken a boat, it would have been a really quick trip,
but since we had to stick to the roads, it took us an hour and a half. It was a beautiful day for a drive, though, so we didn’t mind.
The Everglades were waiting . . .
In the parking lot, we ran into Mike & Annette and Russ & Betsy, fellow-full-timers and RV-Dreamers that are staying at the same RV Resort as us. Mike & Annette were waiting for a tram, and Russ & Betsy we getting ready to set out on bike in the direction recommended by the NPS Rangers.
We unloaded our bikes as well, but we set off in the opposite direction – the same direction as the tram.
The east road is more wide-open, so this let us ride with the wind pushing us in this direction; returning on the west road, going into the wind, we would be more sheltered so the wind wouldn’t be too bad.
We knew there would be much more to see on the ride back to the Visitor Center! The first 8 miles passed quickly.
We parked our bikes and took our snacks up to the tower.
There was a tram full of school kids on a field trip behind us, so we climbed to the top of the tower while they enjoyed their picnic lunch in the grass at the bottom.
On the way back down, we ran into Russ & Betsy.
We chatted for a few minutes, and Betsy told me about some baby alligators that they had spotted along the walkway to the tower. I made sure I looked for them on the way back to the bikes.
On the ride back, we did spot more gators than on the way out, but not nearly as many as we had seen when we were here 4 years ago. Maybe it was the warmer weather, but it seemed like most of them were down in the canal,
The highlight of the day, though, came when we were almost back to the 2 mile marker on the trail. We saw another gator in the grass, but from a distance, something looked strange about him.
We got close enough to see clearly, and saw that he had caught a turtle in his mouth.
We weren’t sure what to think – it was the craziest thing we’d ever seen! The turtle was still alive – he was moving his head and feet around. We didn’t know what was going to happen next; I’ve always heard that gators drown their prey, so we though he might take the turtle back into the canal. We were standing there thinking about it, when suddenly he threw himself into the air and kindof flung the turtle.
We thought it might get away, but the gator reached out with those giant jaws and grabbed it sideways!
He was apparently working on getting it flipped over so he could bite into it easier.
After every re-positioning, he would stop and rest. We would wonder whether we should move on, and other bike riders and walkers stopped to take pictures and then moved on, but we just couldn’t drag ourselves away. We kept wondering what he would do next!
At this point, I took a short video with my phone. You can hear the crunch as he breaks up the shell, but I’m also told that Tom’s sound effects are pretty entertaining!
WOW – That was not something we ever thought we would see! It was gross, but amazing! Nature in action . . . and we witnessed it up close! It certainly was a memorable end to a great day!