I worked in Southwest Florida leading trips in the Everglades back in the 90’s. I loved the heat and the laid-back lifestyle. How I ended up there and what I did will be the subject of a future blog :), but this is a story of my vacation trip there with my husband, Jeff and how we almost didn’t make it home because of alligators.
So, when I worked there, I got used to alligators. We had to watch for them when we did swim tests with the students (!) on the Turner River. And we would catch glimpses of them as we paddled towards the salty water of Chokoloskee Bay in Everglades National Park. Alligators live in fresh water and can’t tolerate saltwater, so by the time we reached the bay, we didn’t have to watch for them anymore.
Jeff and I had spent a few lovely days in Naples. We ate at great restaurants, walked on the beach and watched sunsets, leisurely drank coffee at a sidewalk cafe, and swam in the pool and in the Gulf of Mexico. We are not big on taking photos, so there isn’t much to show you.
As I mentioned, I was used to seeing alligators. Jeff, understandably, was not.
We planned enough time to make our way back across Florida to Miami by Highway 41, also called Tamiami Trail. We stopped at the Tamiami Ranger Station and he saw the alligators. That, my friends, was the end of that.
Forget that we had to get to Miami for a flight home. Forget that we still had to drop off the rental car. Forget that we actually don’t really know our way around Miami or the way to the airport.
Jeff started taking photos. Lots of photos. Like, hundreds of photos. I don’t even know why I cited him in this blog post. If it’s an alligator photo, he took it.
What do you think of the up close and personal views? (Don’t worry, we were standing behind a chain link fence!).
Dodge Charger saves the day
So, by this time, we were late. And we hit construction on Tamiami Trail. When we reached the freeway, I was clocking about 140kmh in our rental Dodge Charger.
It was quite the ride, we made it, and have hundreds of photos of alligators to show for it!
The one photo of us…
The one photo of the trip that wasn’t of an alligator.
Quick tour of Naples, Florida from Naples-Florida.com: Information on Naples, Florida
Map of the Turner River and Chokoloskee Bay from Everglades National Park: Gulf Coast Paddling Guide
Information on where the American Alligator lives, from National Geographic: The American Alligator