We left Key West after only a couple days. Looking back, there was more we would had liked to done there and probably should have stayed for another couple days. But, we prefer to camp in the wilderness and so we got back on the road and headed to the Everglades.
When we entered Everglades National Park there was no one at the entrance or the campsite checkin. It looked to us like it was unmanned because of the government shutdown. We have an Annual National Park pass, so it didn’t really matter to us. We wouldn’t have had to pay to get in anyway, though we would have to pay for a camping spot. We drove around the park and it looked to be in good condition considering the shutdown.
As we made camp someone asked me how to identify the camping spaces (they had the number painted on the slabs) because he had to got back to the checking building and tell them which campsite he was in. After helping this guy, I walked back to the checkin and paid for the campsite we settled into. They must have just been away from the desk when we drove through before.
Nicole and I decided to take a hike while we were there. We only got about a 1/4 mile in before being overwhelmed by mosquitoes. These suckers where huge. Like, steal your girl and fly away huge. Nic wasn’t having any of it so we turned around and went back to the campsite.
These guys were hanging out in the trees when I got up the next morning.
We only stayed in Everglades National Park for one day. It was hot and muggy. The bugs were crazy ferocious. I would have liked to do a canoe rental, but Nic was not going to get into a canoe with alligator infested waters.
So we hit the road with Bradenton as our next destination. Crossing Florida from Miami to the western side of Florida is a highway nicknamed “Alligator Alley”. It is well named as it has a canal running next to it that alligators have infested. I saw one roadkill alligator getting eaten by vultures on the way.
We didn’t make it all the way to Bradenton and stopped for the night at a State Park. We don’t like to pay for camping and that made two days in a row for me. Unfortunately, there just isn’t any free camping in the Everglades like you would typically see around a National Park. One thing that was cool about this campsite was that it had one of the walking dredgers that was used to make Alligator Alley.
This thing actually drug itself along the ground and scooped out mud and stumps so that the Everglades could be drained enough to build the road.
There isn’t much to say about this campsite. We just had a peaceful night camping before it was time to move on the next day.