Day 47: Collier-Seminole SP; Big Cypress NP; Florida NST; Fakahatchee Strand Preserve SP

Road Miles: 0

Total: 5159.6

Trail Miles: 7.5

Total: 122.4

Sites: Collier-Seminole State Park; Big Cypress National Preserve; Florida National Scenic Trail; Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

Locals: El Prez & Swamp Ape

This was Day 2 of my time with Swamp Ape and El Prez, and it was just as whirlwind as the first. These are men of action! So I will keep this post brief in that same spirit, and let the pics and video speak for themselves… mostly.

We returned to Big Cypress, and after a quick spin through the Visitor Center, took a few money shots at the southern terminus of the Florida Trail, then did a little out & back of the first few miles. These two have done these miles many times, so I think they enjoyed my reaction to the little surprise after the first mile or so, which I’m not ratting out here. You’ll have to go see it for yourself!

After a couple three miles in, we wandered off-trail a bit, so they could show me the interior of a cypress dome.┬áSo, in a cypress dome, the trees in the center are the tallest, because that’s where the water is usually deepest, or in the dry months, this may be the only place there is surface water at all. And also alligators. I didn’t see any murder logs here, but what I did see was a veritable utopia of flowers in bloom, including my favorite: tillandsia, or air plants – scarlet poker-shaped flowers everywhere. Love!

We then headed down to Chokoloskee, this seemingly random little bastion of civilization on a tiny little island accessible only either by boat or the two-lane road from Everglades City that appears to have risen up out of the water, as if by magic. We tried to visit the Smallwood Store, which is the oldest National Register site in Collier County, but unfortunately it was closed, so we were only able to wander around the outside, which was still actually pretty cool – you can’t get any further south than this place without swimming in these parts.

We closed out the day with a backroads roads tour of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, where wilderness complete with overgrown vines and trees giving off that unruly jungle vibe exists butted right up next to country club gated communities – fascinating! Then, we headed back out into open space for another episode of ‘Chasing Florida Sunsets.’ Once again, we were the only people out on the road, and the show Mother Nature put on as she drew down the lights was no less spectacular than the night before.