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Best For Last
Written By: O.C.fotoguy
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Best For Last
Best For Last
Best For Last
Best For Last
Best For Last
Best For Last

    I feel good, I ate good, and slept well and let nature show me how so many things (electricity, internet, flush toilets, etc.) really aren’t necessary. I was amused by looking for shade. Shade is something almost no one looks for in February in Ocean City, but as I am loving the sunshine here 26 miles deep in America’s Jungle in the Big Cypress National Preserve portion of the EverGlades, I realized I was making an effort to walk on the shady side of the trails to get out of the direct sun. Why, because it was 80 degrees with a clear bluest of blue sky almost every day. I’ve been about as le’id back as I can be, haven’t accomplished anything except relaxing, nothing has even approached concern, let alone a crisis, and it’s been warm every day, and there has not been a bad weather day. Even the robins know to be here!! Some mornings it was a little crisp and some were foggy, but by 10 a.m. the sun had changed that. Over the 16 years that I’ve come here for weeks to a month in January or February, I’ve seen wildlife that most people never see in a life time including panthers, pilliated wood peckers, swallow tailed kites, wood ducks, bears, bobcats, pigmy rattle snakes, water moccasin snakes, and more.
    Wanting to get into the shade lets you know how warm it is here!  This is my last night of 20 that I’ve spent here consecutively; I’ve loved it. No snow here!!! I heard on the radio that Disney World and Universal Studios are charging $99 a day for a parking pass and you pay big time for whatever you do. People are in line to go there. Here I rarely see another person and nature’s show is free. I’ll take nature; you can have Mickey…
    I’ve started each day with a 3-4 hour walk starting around sunrise with 28 oz. of coffee with bakers chocolate, creamer and a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon, and an orange or grapefruit, then coming back to my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck) for a brunch of whole grains with a banana; then it’s off on my bicycle. Each outing has long pauses to watch what nature has to show me. Yesterday’s show was a fish, absolutely eating size. There’re only two kinds to me, that and too small to eat. I’ll bet a hand line and bait would’ve caught him easily, because here he has probably never seen a fisherman. I didn’t need it, though, since I’d bought 5 lbs. of grouper at the end of the Key West Seafood Festival that a vendor didn’t need. I’ll remember where I saw that fish for next year.
    On many of my walks I had to clear a spiders work from my way, although I avoided them whenever I could. How does a spider get that single strand of “web” across 8-10 feet 4 or 5 feet off the ground?   Another morning I came across two raccoons; each scurried up a tree, went all the way to the top, and promptly went to sleep.  A half hour later when I passed again, they were still there! Each year I see anhingas.  What an amazing critter.  I see them diving and swimming with the fishes, sitting in trees, and swimming on the surface, and soaring way up in the air with the eagles!  Wow! The hardest photo while I’ve been here is getting one of a swallow tailed kite.  They fly so fast. I can’t push the shutter button fast enough. They’re always way over at the far side of the picture. The way they zoom around, they surely inspired the maneuvers of fighter jets! I’m also amazed that I see the same type of critter, maybe the same one, in the same place year after year. They are obviously much more content with their lives than most humans.  You can hear a lot interesting facts about the everglades and its critters by going to and listening to their programs.
    The last day as I drove out of Big Cypress from my camp site to Turner River Road, I saw a large bird fly from the brush across the dirt road and up into the trees. I knew by the size of its head that it was an owl. I stopped the truck, grabbed my camera, walked back to where I’d seen it and searched the trees. When it moved again to a perch high in the trees, I saw it was a Barred Owl. I hadn’t seen one for years. I got the photo and went back to the truck, then stopped about mid way to the gate to take a short last walk. I was treated by a red bird pausing in its skittish nature long enough for me to get a photo, then two little diving ducks performed for me. Wow, Mother Nature had saved the best for last!    One thing for sure though, I’ll be back here!
    Now, I’m meandering up the western coast of Florida for the rest of March, then on to Texas in April. Staying here where it’s warm, rather than going west and hoping to find a warm place in March is a much better “plan,” than what I’ve done before and I think it will set a trend for the rest of my adventures. In Texas I’ll go to Big Bend N.P. hopefully get to kayak in St. Elena Canyon, then watch the craziness of Spring Break in South Padre Island and the NCAA Basketball Ball March Madness on TV. By then it’ll be time to go home for some steamed crabs, Fager’s Island Deck Parties, and the beach. One thing for sure though, I’ll be back here!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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