Sunday, June 2, 2013

Big Cypress: Tarpon Lake

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join the local Florida Trail Association chapter on a hike to Tarpon Lake within Big Cypress National Preserve for National Trails Day.  There isn't an actual trail that goes there, so the hike leader had previously bushwhacked his way into the Everglades and had saved his route in his GPS.  About 20 of us met at a new rest stop at Mile Marker 52 on Alligator Alley/I-75.  There are no facilities at this new recreation area, just parking and a boat ramp.  We had been warned previously that this was going to be a wet hike.  We headed into the cypress trees and eventually came to an old ATV trail.  ATVs were previously allowed in this section of Big Cypress but the environmentalists won out recently so they are no longer allowed.

We followed this wet ATV trail in water up to our shins for awhile before heading off onto another old, unmarked trail.  Along the way we saw bear, deer, raccoon, bobcat, alligator, and various bird tracks.

Bobcat tracks

Walking through deep water in the Everglades is like no other experience on Earth.  I highly suggest trying it! On these wet trails you will see the most amazing flora!

After about 2-2.5 miles, we arrived at Tarpon Lake.  It is one of the few deep lakes in the Everglades, meaning about 50-60 feet deep.

A few of us headed further into the swamp to look for orchids growing on trees, specifically the ghost orchid which blooms around this time of year.  Sadly, we didn't find any.

On our way back to the parking lot, our leader decided to take us a different way and we ended up having to walk through Sawgrass higher than our heads.  There's a reason it's called sawgrass and our bleeding wounds proved it lived up to its name.

Overall, it was a really great hike that I would love to do again in the future, minus the sawgrass.

No comments:

Post a Comment