Thursday, March 20, 2014

Everglades National Park - Three-In-One Trail

Seeing as people keep reminding us that it's the snakes we need to be careful of I was a little apprehensive about today's hike. There are a series of wilderness trails all around the campground and the Ranger suggested the small .5 mile Three-In-One Trail across from the picnic areas on the main campground road to start. It gets its name from the three different habitats you walk through; slash pine forest, prairie, and hammock.

We headed out alone through the Slash Pine Forest. We saw lots of butterflies and anoles; tiny lizards. There was a lot of undergrowth, not like the pine forests at home. Isaac has cultivated a healthy curiosity and often wanders off trail back home. I have mixed feelings about this. It wasn't much of an issue on this hike, because he wanted to stay close. 

 The trail opens to the Prairie where all you see are grasses. The 6.1 mile Pineland Trail runs through here.

The Saw Grass looks harmless until you touch it. Isaac filled out a page in his Jr. Ranger book about this plant. 

The third part of the trail runs through the Hammock.

As we walked through the Hammock we had to watch our step, because snakes can look like tree roots. Our pulse really quickened here as the sounds of the wildlife were much louder, although you couldn't see anything. The air inside the Hammock is cooler and very wet. It is darker.  The trees crowded the trail, especially in one spot where at one point we turned around and thought we were on the wrong trail. The Ranger said it's been difficult keeping them cut back with the unusually wet Dry Season they've had. 

When we emerged we felt more alive…braver.

We took it easy at the campground for the rest of the morning. It was a great time to catch up on math, Jr Ranger badge activities, and journalling. At first glance the badge activity book looks trivial. Like the books they give you at hotels to keep the kids quiet. But this book is full of follow up activities for the sites in the park, like writing a poem about what saw grass really is.

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