Everglades National Park, Day 3 – Sunday–February 10, 2013

Day 3 – Bay Loop Trail and Pythons ;o))  

Today, we started our day with a bike ride rather than a walk since we planned on hiking later this morning.  Of course, we headed to the visitor center to take our daily photos of the weather, tides and events boards.
We locked our bikes to the rail right next to these unique palms.03 - morning bike ride - Paurotis Palm

So nice that they have descriptive signage to help us learn:o))02 - morning bike ride- Paurotis Palm Sign


Can’t beat starting the day with a wonderful view of Florida Bay!!01 - morning bike ride - Florida Bay from the marina


This Snowy Egret is waking up and waiting to catch breakfast.03 - morning bike ride- Snowy Egret at the marina


After our bike ride and finishing breakfast,

we met up with Sherry and David to hike the Bayshore Loop Trail.04a - Bay Shore Loop Trail Sign

The Bayshore Loop trail is a mile loop through the mangroves.

It loops off the Coastal Prairie Trail which begins behind the “C” Campground loop.


Fortunately for us,

Sherry and David have been here a week and attended many of the Ranger Programs
where they have learned a lot about the Everglades.
Therefore, we had our own personal tour guides!!
04c - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Hi Ho Hi Ho  04d - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Sherry our tour guide


The hike begins and ends across the Prairie.

Lots of interesting flowers, spiders and vegetation.

 04e - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Pretty Blossom 04l - Bay Shore Loop Trail - interesting spider04f - Bay Shore Loop Trail - nickerbeans


Then we headed into the mangroves.

04g - Bay Shore Loop Trail - heading into the Mangroves 04g2 - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Red Mangroves

The Mangroves really ARE the Everglades.

They take root….

04g4 - Bay Shore Loop Trail - New rooted Mangrove 


04h - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Mangroves and Florida Bay

and eventually form islands in Florida Bay!!
05d - walk to visitor center - Kayak Fisherman in Florida Bay


Our walk through the Mangroves provided us a few peaks of the bay.

04i - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Wading Willets 04k - Bay Shore Loop Trail - peaks through the Mangroves

You cannot walk along the edge of the water. 
If you get too close, you will be knee deep in mud;((


As we came out of the Mangroves, we hit the trail sign.

Which way to go??

04m - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Coastal Prairie Trail Sign

Head to the left, 5 miles to the end then 6 miles back;-O

Head to the right, 1 mile and you are home:-))


Since we hadn’t packed a lunch and we had afternoon plans,

we enjoyed the beautiful 1 mile walk to the right!!04n - Bay Shore Loop Trail - Saltwort on Coastal Prairie Trail


Every afternoon about 2pm,
there is an educational program about some topic relative to the Everglades.

Todays topic was the Python!!

Of course, we were visiting during the Great Python Hunt of 2013.  Actually, the hunt was taking place everywhere in Southern Florida, except Everglades National Park.  There is NO hunting in the National Park.  Before we got to the Everglades, we couldn’t help but wonder and worry a little about encountering a Python.  The media made it sound like they were everywhere.  So a little education might be helpful!!

We gathered under the Visitor Center where we heard a lot about Pythons.  First, they are large snakes but do not see humans as a food source.  That sure was nice to hear:o)) 

This photo is of a 12 foot python skin.
05e - Ranger Presentation - Burmese Python Skin


A closer look and you can see what a beautiful snake they are!05f - Ranger Presentation - Burmese Python Skin closeup


A look at the skeleton of the head and you know this is a formidable snake!!05g - Ranger Presentation - Burmese Python skeleton head


They are a non-native species which has changed the Everglades. It is believed that they were introduced by pet owners who set them loose when they became to large to keep in their homes.  Also, some were probably released when pet stores were severely damaged during hurricanes.   Regardless of how they got here, they have affected the environment.  First thing you notice…there are no rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and other small animals to be seen.

How many pythons are there??  No one really knows.  The Everglades is about 1 million acres and there is no way to count or even estimate the numbers.  Could be 10,000 or could be 100,000 or more.  Most of the rangers have seen at least one, but very few visitors ever see one.  We did not and that’s just fine:o)) 

You probably have heard or seen the story about the largest one that they captured.  It was over 17 ft long.  The ranger told us they captured it when they STEPPED on it.  These snakes are very difficult to see!!  So trying to hunt, capture or kill this creatures is an impossible task.  They are working on a solution, but it may just take nature itself to fix this problem.  If the Python runs out of a food source, their numbers will diminish. 
In the mean time, do not let the Media Hype deter you from visiting the Everglades.  We visited for two weeks, hiked and kayaked several trails, spent time near many ponds and in the campground.  We only saw two small gray racer snakes and they were running from us:o))
This is a marvelous National Park and the Pythons are NOT roaming the streets or trails!! 


  1. Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?

    Hopefully they are not roaming the campground... ;c)

  2. Great write up and pictures on a wonderful day we spent with you guys. Thanks for the memories. Hope we can do some similar things together soon.

  3. Glad you didn't see any Pythons. Makes me shiver just thinking about it.

  4. What's a little Python among friends :) Glad that you didn't run into any!

  5. Such great memories of the Everglades and so glad that we didn't see a phython! :-)

  6. Yes it is a marvelous park. I do miss squirrels, bunnies and racoons though.

  7. Squirrels, Bunnies and Racoons sound like great meals for Pythons :)

  8. Great posts about the Everglades! I can see why you enjoyed it so much!