The night in the Everglades was worth the mosquito nightmare to be so close to such a diverse area. You can see how few people were in the campground by the photo of our camper in the middle of nowhere!
We took a walk around the campground trails in the morning, saw some great birds, the turkey vulture and hawk posed very nicely! It was fun to walk around all the palm trees to see the coconuts up in the trees, they did go on a coconut hunt, Jake found a good one, which Dave opened but it didn't seem ripe and although they all tasted the it, the unanimous conclusion was that it tasted bad!
We attended the Croc Talk at the Flamingo Marina and saw 2 crocodiles. Everglades National Park is the only place in the US where crocodiles and alligators co-exist. Crocodiles can survive in salt water, as they have a gland that can process the salt. The marina water is brakish (a mix of salt and fresh) so is a great location for them.
As we were going towards the Visitor Center for the kids to receive their Junior Ranger badges, we passed the marina when Dave suddenly realized there were a couple of manatee swimming around. It was awesome to see them in the wild in such an unexpected location.
Alligators prefer fresh water so a little further up, along the Anahinga Trail, we were able to see a great number of alligators, one was a little too close to the path for comfort! There was all sorts of wildlife along the trail, other than the alligators, the anahinga birds were quite spectacular. They dive and swim underwater extremely gracefully for quite some time. Once out of the water, they fan their wings in the sun to dry them and have little fear of the tourists on the trail.
Next stop, couple of hours south into the Keys. We made our way to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, had a bit of a battle getting the camper into a very narrow site - we realised we'd be getting friendly with our neighbors this week!
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
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Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)