Everglades

Our flight got into Florida early this morning.  It was a long flight but we seemed to perk right up when we landed.

We picked up our rental car and headed to our hotel.  We stayed in a pretty nice place but the landscape threw me.  Everything hurt my eyes!  There were shades of green that I didn’t know existed 🙂

It was such an adventure just driving down the freeways, and not because of the traffic.  There was so much to look at, I was almost mesmerized by the nature that was just there.  It’s always so fascinating to me when we go other places at all the other colors.  We have a bunch of different shades of brown in Vegas, that’s about it.  The other thing that struck me (probably because we live in a desert) was the water… everywhere!!!  This is a picture that I took right off the side of the road!  There’s so much foliage and water!!!

Even though my birthday isn’t for two more days we celebrated today!  The one thing that I wanted to do was see some alligators!  I wanted to get some pictures to show the kids.  I knew they’d get a kick out seeing that we were so close to them.  My wonderful hubby did some research and found a great place that we could go and see them up close and personal.  The EVERGLADES!!!

    

I’m such a nature freak that I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my day.  Oh, I get it now!  As I’m writing that statement I just realized where my kids get their love for animals and nature!  Hahaha, funny that it took me saying that to realise where they get their fascination from 🙂 .

    

I couldn’t believe how absolutely beautiful it was!  Everyone we talked to was so upset because the weather forcast was for cloudy and rainy but I loved it.  Their cloudy and rainy is so different from that of Las Vegas.  In Vegas we’d have five minutes of sprinkling rain but in Florida it was easy to see why everything is so green.  One minute it’d be bright and sunny and the next it’d be raining buckets.  It was a great feeling either way!  It was so nice to feel the sun on my skin even with it being February.

  

   

This picture is of a mamma gator with three little gators up by her head.  When I look at the last picture above and to the right I can almost see her smiling in her sleep as her little ones are playing nearby 🙂 .  Look close, maybe you can see them!

   

As scary as it is to think of walking in an area surrounded by wildlife (an we’re not talking birdies and chipmunks) it was absolutely breathtaking.  The pictures that I took don’t do it justice.  It was stunning to watch the alligators movement and to see them in their natura habitat.  Not only were the alligators beautiful to watch but so were the cranes!

  

   

(this looked like some prehistoric dinosaur)

While we were walking through the national park we came across this little path (0.2 of a mile).  I had the crazy idea that it would be fun.  For the first 20-30 feet it was beautiful but the farther we went down the path the darker and more dense the foliage got.  Pretty soon there wasn’t much light and you could hear the steady stream of water running below the makshift bridge.  At this point it was pointless to turn around so we kept going.

There was one point where I was watching where I was walking very intensly and I realised that there were huge holes in the ground.  The closer I looked I could see the running water below!  They were sink holes!!!  That really got my heart racing because all I could imagine was an alligator swimming below me and me falling through the surface!

  

I love the two pictures above because you’d think it was just a picture of an alligator and a separate picture of a crane but in all actuality I was standing in between the two and when I looked to the right I saw the crane and when I looked to the left I saw the alligator.  I took a step back and snapped the picture below just so you could get an idea of how crazy awesome this national park was!

It just blew my mind to see the whole life cycle process just by walking a few miles.  We saw the mamma gator and her new babies, saw this gator stalk his prey, and at one point Jared and I saw a crane land in the water only to have landed right in front of a gator which in turn became dinner.  There was hardly a noise (just a bunch of splashing), and we probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it if we hadn’t just seen it land there.  These alligators have such beautiful movement and are just amazing creatures but they can also be sinister and dangerous if you take them for granted.

As the sun started to set we thought it best if we didn’t stick around for dinner time, but we really did enjoy our afternoon with the alligators.  Such an amazing birthday!

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Filed under Brianna, Brithdays, Jared, Kids, Trips

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