On the (Loop) Road Again…
Hey friendly readers!
I’m still reeling from my incredibly fun weekend in the Everglades. Being from Miami, I grew up with a deep love for this unique delicate ecosystem. I’ve gone on wonderful camping trips and day trips in the Everglades. It’s a happy place for me, being that I’m generally obsessed with bodies of water and life within them; water and life–the Glades have got plenty of both.
This day trip into the ‘Glades started out as a mission to show my husband my favorite parts of this amazing place. We live in Broward County, and sometimes we like to hop in the car and cruise along I-75 North towards Naples, a stretch of highway also known as ‘Alligator Alley’. When you take this road north and west, you’ll find yourself eventually surrounded by wide open water with sawgrass. You’ll see some gators hanging out along the way too. Makes for a nice enough scenic drive.
I love the Big Cypress National Preserve within the Everglades. So many mangroves are visible, so much wildlife, very diverse flora and fauna. So Sunday morning, my crew of 6—myself, the husband, the mother, the sisters, and the nephew—piled up in my car and off we went.
We took the Tamiami Trail directly west until South Miami suburb developments gave way to little gator-wrestling stops and small roadside food joints. It’s a different world out there. We headed to the Loop Road, a 27-mile scenic drive and managed to see plenty of good stuff out there, thanks to the sunny, cold dry weather (the best time for gator-watching in Florida).
I love the Loop Road, but hadn’t been on it in a couple of years. Got there, and found out that a big portion of the Loop is in awful shape. In all fairness, I will admit that there was a “Local Traffic Only” sign partially blocking that portion of the Loop. I reasoned that I’m a local and drove right past it. What I got was a LONG uneven wet mess of giant potholes–much of the road is partially washed out. It’s still lovely to be surrounded on either side by all kinds of wetlands. I loved every minute of it. My fam loved the bumpiness (we’re used to bad roads in Haiti, so this brought back fond memories), especially my five-year-old nephew. It took hours to drive the road because of its condition; my back did not thank me the next day.
**After coming home, I looked up whether anything had been reported about the current state of the dirt/gravel portion of the Loop and came across this message on the government’s Big Cypress Preserve page:
the portion of Loop Road south of the Gator Hook Strand site and west of the Loop Road Education Center will be closed to vehicle traffic. This closure does not apply to landowners and their guests. The closure is warranted due to water over topping the roadbed creating the potential for unsafe driving conditions. This portion of the road is gravel, and the combination of water over the roadway, and vehicle traffic has washed away road materials, leaving deep pockets in some areas of the roadway. The paved portion of the road located west of the Preserve boundary and east of the Loop Road Education Center remains under a travelers advisory. If travel along the road is necessary, the use of a high clearance vehicle is strongly suggested.”
Oops. Well, luckily my car’s got good ground clearance; I will research beforehand next time.
We saw lots of beautiful bare trees, nice ponds and fields, pretty flowers, and a rustic human outpost or two.
The pics in this post are some lovely pics that my wonderful husband snapped during our day of adventure. If you don’t spend time in the Everglades, I urge you to go. It’s a magical place, and works its way quickly into your heart. I will never miss the opportunity to remind myself and others how blessed we are to have this unique ecosystem here in our backyard. There’s no place like it in the world.