Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

First Days in Flamingo

Thursday January 23 & Friday Jan 24,2014
Flamingo Campground Site 3
Everglades National Park


We have come up to the northern end of the park to hike the Anhinga Trail and since our Verizon internet works here, I’m posting a couple of blogs from our first days in the Everglades.  Future episodes will be posted when we leave Flamingo to return to Midway on Sunday February 2nd.



THURSDAY January 23





We set out from Midway for the easy drive down route 41 and past Robert is Here to the Everglades National Park.  104 miles.  My kind of day. 

Robert is home and doing a booming business.  Luckily there is a BIG space along the road to park Winnona and Ruby.  We pick up some of the most delicious tomatoes I have ever tasted and a giant bag of fresh kale among other things.  Sure wish Robert was a little bit closer to the campground but he’s 40 miles away unfortunately.  I’d like to stock up on fresh produce mid week.  If you aren’t familiar with Robert, check out his story here.






Yup that’s Robert still running the corner market he began at age 6.









AM Everglades Morning (73)

From Robert’s it is a straight shot down the park road, past the Northern Visitor’s Center and Long Pine Key campground to the very end of the road where we are assigned my favorite spot ever in the T Loop of Flamingo Campground, Site 3.  

The T loop has electric but no water so after taking on a tank full of water we pull into the site – backwards.

Being the weirdos that we are, we pull in the opposite direction from everyone else but that means our view is the trees and greenery as well as a sliver of the bay rather than the rear end of every other RV in the campground.   We also have a huge yard now.  But Winnona does look like a “which one is different picture”.  Does this make us unfriendly?





One of our neighbors must have had a rough day.  We find him sound asleep on his picnic table.  It is a beautiful day and I don’t blame him for preferring a nap outside, mattress, pillow and all, to one inside his Leisure Travel Van.








First  on the agenda, after hooking up, is to bike down the Guy Bradley trail to the Visitor’s Center, get our first look at Florida Bay and see what the up coming programs will be.


The strong sun bleaches out my ability to show the true flamingo color of the visitor center. 








Out in Florida Bay we can see that the White Pelicans have arrived.  An afternoon paddle on the bay goes on our agenda.






On our first full day in the Everglades, I begin what always becomes a morning ritual here for me. 
Up to see the sunrise over Florida Bay
Walk over to see the early birds on Eco Pond
Walk over the visitor center to get the day’s agenda.

It puts a good start on my 10,000 step day.


Dawn is a beautiful quiet time of day.  No one else is out yet.

AAM Everglades Morning (100)




Looks like the clouds have left only a sliver of room for the sun.


AAM Everglades Morning (112)




AM Everglades Morning (14)



It’s still early morning when I head over to Eco Pond hoping to see the dozens of birds who flew in each morning last time we were here this past February.

AM Everglades Morning (15)

AM Everglades Morning (16)


AM Everglades Morning (17)


But no big crowds are here  or come in.  I wait quite a while enjoying the solitude and the beauty of the pond,  Again I have it all to myself just as I had the sunrise over Florida Bay.  But I am not totally alone.  I walk around the pond and find a great egret and tri-colored heron.


AM Everglades Morning (20)


Another great egret and a white ibis

AM Everglades Morning (26)




Some black neck stilts with their red legs hidden in the water.

AM Everglades Morning (31)A




A group of what I think are blue winged teal


AM Everglades Morning (40)



And one lone roseate spoonbill.


AM Everglades Morning (50)A


Egrets, heron, ibis hanging out together.

AM Everglades Morning (61)


AM Everglades Morning (65)



Before heading home for breakfast I stop off at the Visitor’s Center to photograph the weather, tides and schedule for the day.   High 69.  15-20 mph winds, high tide is a whole 1.3 feet this morning and 2 feet this evening.


AM Everglades Morning (69)


Based on the schedule, we head over to the visitor in the afternoon to hear about the manatee.  I love manatee and didn’t really expect to see many down here but after the talk we walk over to the marina and sure enough there are two on each side of the dam separating the Florida Bay salt water and the buttonwood canal fresh water.

PM Everglades (12)




Surrounding the visitor’s center are a variety of large gorgeous trees including this mahogany with its enormous seeds.


PM Everglades (31)

PM Everglades (32)




PM Everglades (33)

We stay to hear the Croc Talk given by another ranger and learn again that crocodiles are found no where else in the United States other than the very southern tip of Florida. Crocodiles also have a more pointed snout than alligators and you can see not only their upper but also their lower teeth.  I think this makes them look even more sinister.  Maybe that’s why Captain Hook’s enemy was a crocodile and not an alligator.  The marina has several crocs that hang out and after the talk, we take a walk over to see them and the osprey who has a nest just above the walkway where you can see the crocs.



PM Everglades (34)


PM Everglades (6)



PM Everglades (8)





PM Everglades (11)


It’s been a Fine day in Flamingo!  

Where, by the way, there haven’t been any flamingos since the early part of the century but they are how what was the town got its name.   The park are is located at the site of the former town, so it is called Flamingo too.  And of course what other color for its visitor center than shocking pink?  More about all of this after the Ranger Campfire program on the history of Flamingo later in the week.


  1. Glad you are having a spectacular time down south. Haven't seen a Flamingo yet, but I assume they don't travel to far north in the cooler zone of Florida.

    1. Actually Laurie there are no flamingos in the Everglades either any more. I suppose every once in a while a few might get off course but no one I've talked to has seen one. The only pink around here are the roseate spoonbills and they are gorgeous.

  2. Well, if you are unfriendly weirdos, join the club! We've pulled into sites the wrong way for a better view, too. Once we were told to turn around because everyone had to conform. We stayed like we were and left the next day. Just another reason we avoid RV parks if possible.

  3. I do believe that your last egret picture is of a reddish egret. They are quite comical to watch as they chase around after the fish with their wings spread. I hope you get to see that!

    Sure wish I was down there with you. We're having another ice storm here. :(

  4. YEAH!! I have missed hearing from you guys. Everglades are on my "NP List," so I am loving the update, and looking forward to more! That looks like such a great place for a paddle (just not with my inflatable in Croc country! haha!!)

    Keep having fun so we can all live vicariously! Dreadfully cold here...."Feels like 20."

  5. Beautiful pictures, we just pulled in the wrong way here at Goose Island, since we don't have a back window we wanted to get the best view out of our door side window, hope we don't have an issue when we leave. We stopped years ago at Robert is Here produce stand in a successful search of fresh strawberries, enjoy your time in the warm weather we are cold (30's) here again, though they keep assuring us it's an unusual winter.

  6. Beautiful sunrise pictures. You two make Florida look like the most amazing place on the planet. I can't believe you went to go look at the crocs at the Marina. Alligators don't scare me, but crocs certainly do. Not sure I'd want to paddle with those!

  7. What a very cool place! I'm glad you included a photo of the croc. We learned that was the only place they were located.

    Beautiful photos of the birds. I am not a bird person but I do love the large birds down here.

    The manatees are so cute. We went kayak with them today at Manatee State Park. One played with us for quite a while. It was so awesome.

    Enjoy your stay! Takes lots of pictures of those birds:)

  8. Great posts about one of my favorite places. I figured all the birds in Florida must be at Echo Pond since it is so cold in northern Florida!! Wonder where they have all gone?!?! I let you know if they are at Shark Valley when we get there later this week;o))

  9. Hope you are still warm. But that is relative, isn't it. Here in Montgomery, it is 25 and snowing, so anything above freezing would be great.

    Love your tours, Sherry.

  10. Hey, somebody has to be the weird one. Glad you've joined me, now there are two of us!

    Crocs are really cool, they look so business like with those up and down teeth. I wonder how well they get along with gators. Maybe they're kissing cousins?

    Just wondering how well your bikes have been holding up on your travels being out in the weather all the time. We're contemplating getting rid of our folding bikes that we keep in a storage compartment and going back to full size bikes, which we'd have to keep outside like yours. The folding bikes are too limited for any real distance riding.

  11. I really like the pictures of the dawn. That croc certainly does look sinister!

  12. Enjoyed this post as always :) Robert looks like he has a clip on beard-lol. It's so white! And the man on the picnic table...wonder if he sleeps out there at night too? Ha! I love all the birds, especially the roseate. Beautiful sunrise! Wish I was there to enjoy it all too :)

  13. Hey you two. Sure do wish we could hook up while you're down here in the Sunshine State. We're so nearby yet so far away.

    I want to thank you again for turning me onto Robert Is Here last year. For the past two Christmases, I've ordered gift boxes of fresh oranges and grapefruit, along with jars of jams and jellies, relishes and sauces be sent to friends who have really enjoyed the treats. One of these days I'll make it down there to meander down Robert's aisles.

  14. How fun to hear from you! You are obviously happy and having a wonderful time -- I haven't been to Flamingo in 40 years (used to go down there fishing with my family), but your photos and writing are making me want to go back NOW!

  15. Oh, my, I am so cold and looking at your pictures warms me up! Wish I were there. Thanks for sharing.

  16. That first dawn photo is quite beautiful.

  17. Love the 2nd sunrise photo! What a pretty place! The spoonbill looks prehistoric. Was that a real crocodile in the photo? You got a close picture- using a zoom I presume. (Ha! I made a rhyme!) Comparing alligators and crocodiles, one of them is able to open his/her mouth easily using strong jaws while the other can not open its' mouth easily if held shut. It's 12 degrees here and I wore 2 coats to the shelter today. xxxooo

  18. Roberts does have some great produce. Thanks for bringing back memories of last year in the Everglades. It's a beautiful, natural place. Enjoy!

  19. I got soooo tickled about Here's Robert when I was there… just blew me away … I enjoyed that place very much . You didn't mention that HUGE alligator he had in the back… I guess he's gone… I hope they didn't keep him cooped up .. said he was 9 gazillion years old … hmmm… dang! I wish I blogged in 2007… but I didn't.

    LOved seeing all this again… I liked that area … very much ~ as always … beautiful sunset pictures … AND they told me to not startle alligators when I was out and about walking .. I said… NO PROBLEM!

    However… me and my self, did stray off the beaten path a bit … but mainly stayed on the wooden walks … I almost startled one… it was an accident! but alligators don't know accidents … I bowed deeply and backed off …. thank goodness ol Homer was nearby….

    glad you're back with wifi! miss you when you don't blog ... good stuff always

  20. I'm glad you got some nice warm weather. We are in the Keys now and if you look straight across the bay, you might even see us? We'll be the old people waving. :) I think as the crow flies we are only about 80 miles from Flamingo.

    That produce looks wonderful. I guess we'll have to get there one of these trips. The no phone or internet in Flamingo is what keeps us away.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip. I'm sure you'll have lots of pictures to share when you get internet again.

  21. Enjoyed your post as it brought back memories for us from last year. Make sure you do the half day guided canoe trip with a ranger in west lake. Huge crocs there.
    We are in Bushnell right now and heading down there next month. We have some friends staying in Long Pine CG and they report mosquitoes and no-see-ums are prevalent. What you situation with the little devils there in Flamingo|? Great idea about backing in to face the water! Damn the naysayers.

    1. Also meant to say ...awesome that Verizon is out there now. We had too drive back to the main entrance to check email etc,last year.

    2. Chris and Caron, thank you so much for your comment. It's great to hear from you. Verizon is not at Flamingo but you can get it at the entrance to the park and the Coe visitor center but beyond that, nothing. I posted this on our way in and then we came back up to see the northern part of the park the following Tuesday and I posted another. I've posted 3 about the bugs since I've come out yesterday. In a word - terrible.

  22. So glad to be reading your Everglades story. Have missed you. Not weird at all to park with the best view. And how delightful to enjoy sunrise without a crowd.

  23. I agree that you should park Winnona in whichever direction gives you the best view. Who cares what everyone else thinks?

    Hope you're finally enjoying some nice warm temps!


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