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

Henry David Thoreau

Eco Pond & Noble Hammock Kayak

Monday February 11, 2013
Site T-15 Flamingo Campground
Everglades National Park


Every morning I go over to watch the sunrise and then stop at Eco Pond, just north of the campground,  where there are often between 5 and 10 serious photographers with giant lenses all gathered.

This is what they are here to photograph and I’m really sorry one of them isn’t writing this post because the bird life is extraordinary and my camera just isn’t up to it.  I took 105 pictures there this morning and about 15 were half way decent.

My lens isn’t wide angle enough to get how many birds there were at the pond but the back side  of the pond was just literally covered.


Here’s one small section

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Everybody is jockeying for position.  Snowy and great egrets, white ibis.  Of course the white pelicans don’t have to jockey.   They just choose any place they’d like


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Two wood storks fishing behind a landing snowy egret.

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Wood storks may have a face only a mother could love but they are gorgeous flyi8ng.  Check out the pink feet.

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Not sure who is doing what behind these fishing white pelicans.  But obviously they don’t care.

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This is my favorite picture of the snowy egret.


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There were small guys there too.

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I reluctantly leave so we can get an early start on our Noble Hammock paddle through the mangroves.



We start out from the put in which is just beside the main road.

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You can see from these red mangrove roots how low the water has fallen.

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There goes David into the first turn.

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Bladderwort, the green ferny plant and my new mosquito larvae eating favorite, and periphyton (breadsticks)  in the water.

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I’ll spare you all the twists and turns but it was 2 miles of these great fun narrow tunnels.

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We came out of one of the tunnels into a gator hole complete with gator who was about 2’ in front of David’s boat right here until I went to take his picture.  Camera shy I guess.

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We hung around looking to see if he would come back up and a young family paddled into the hole.  I thought they looked like an impressionist painting.   The father has a great red handle bar moustache and was a very adept paddler in spite of the help of his first mate in front.


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Which way?  
Good thing there is a marker.

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You would so totally miss this one.

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Out into grasses over my head.

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Pole 101, we’re nearing the end.   Too bad,  I really love these little labyrinths.  In and around, under and through.  

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Here is David pulling himself out of a narrow channel. 

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Not sure David would do this one again but I sure would.  Although it is not for inflatable boats or any that are wider than ours.  Imagine the situation if the water were higher.  Being short would be a super advantage then.

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On the way back to Winnona we stop at West Lake Pond to see what is there.  Turns out it was actually Cootville today.

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Most of the water in the Everglades is very shallow during the winter including the Florida Bay which is only 3-5’ deep.  West Lake is more like 6” and whatever is the green stuff on the bottom, it is obviously delicious tasting for coots.   Can you see their red eyes and the red just above the white bill??



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While we are here, we decide to take the short West Lake boardwalk trail.  Everglades National Park has done an excellent job of having something for everyone.   There are stops all along the main drive with short to medium length hikes many of which are handicapped accessible.

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Along the boardwalk is a lot of information about the habitat here and salt tolerant mangrove trees.   Even a few inches in height can determine what will grow and what won’t.

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All the mangrove roots are covered in barnacles.

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From there we stop at Mrazek Pond and after that drive down to look at the Bear Lake Trail and Kayak put in.  But those are for another post.  This was a busy day and this blog is already too long.


  1. Cool kayak trail. I love the look of the mangroves. Can't bend myself into a canoe or kayak yet, but maybe by this summer.

  2. Love paddling though Mangroves. Fairies and all kinds of wee folk live in there.

  3. Not too long for me! love it all... I think I would get a tad claustrophobic going down those narrow channels... wow

    great pictures ...

  4. Nice post.... Don't sell yourself short on the photography. I often take tons of pictures too just to get those few that I really like! I liked the 2 little guys....

    Great tour of the Everglades...thanks!

  5. Wish I way following you along on these paddles! I sure miss kayaking! It's a wonder that there are not air collisions with all those birds taking off and landing with air traffic controllers. Maybe the biggest birds do the job..... STAY OUT OF MY WAY!!

  6. It sure is interesting to see the mangrove roots covered with barnicles. I hope next year to make a trip further into Florida to explore some of the places you and David have visited...except the hospital !!!!

  7. Beautiful birds!! do you have to be really experienced to get your way thru those narrow places??? and read the sings or trail markers ...

  8. Well, the fabulous photographers will tell you that they take a bazillion photos to get just a few award winning ones. Loved your bird photos today, you did GREAT!

  9. All those birds ... what a treat to see them. I'd be there all day ... or until they left.

  10. Just love the bird pictures. There is so much to see in the waterways down there.

  11. What a great paddle in the mangroves. I always feel like I am with you because you describe everything so well. Wish those mosquito larvae eating plants were more prolific!

  12. That looks like a great kayak that I wish I hadn't missed! The birds are beautiful :) I like Page's idea that fairies live in the mangroves.


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