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Gators, Grackles, and Glades, Oh My!

| 4/24/2012 11:02:51 AM

Sheila S. Hudson head shotEverything I have ever read about the Everglades carried the mystique of danger.  Even in the brochure I picked up at the Welcome Station, it warned visitors that “the animals in the Everglades tend to be aggressive.”

Boat rides are not my favorite activity, but I figured I could handle an air boat ride with 30 other people manned by a park ranger.  Okay, I don’t know if he was really a ranger but he looked official.

He gave us the warm up talk about the swamp and its gator residents.  He didn’t mention other gator relatives but I sensed they were there as well. Pete aka the Ranger did mention fourteen varieties of snakes that live in the Everglades - four of which are poisonous.  That didn’t help my comfort factor, nor did the front page of the Miami Herald with its python stories and how they are overtaking the marshland. 

Pete warned us to remove hats and turn billed caps backwards.  I had visions of gators jumping out of the brackish water and chomping them as they stood on scaly tales like Flipper.

With quivery stomach, Pete revved the motor and pointed out scaly beings lounged on the left and right. Some had a yellow rimmed eye open, and others appeared to be in a deathlike sleep.  The boat’s low sides didn’t prevent a hand from straying outside its realms, but warnings were posted everywhere about being too adventurous or God forbid offering food.  My fears subsided when Pete began to talk about flora and fauna.  The water lilies were beautiful, and the scene was picturesque with the water gardens parting as our boat glided over the black water.

Occasionally a creature peered out of the undergrowth or in a cove.  Pete steered the boat for photo ops.  Many of the gators looked more like a rubber tire than a reptile.  Not a muscle moved but when I stared long enough, I detected a slight lung movement and I am positive he was monitoring our boat like a plate of fast food wafting by.

michel richad
6/15/2012 2:01:15 AM

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4/24/2012 10:06:33 PM

Sheila, yeah, I think I'll stick to flat dry land and gardening. I never thought the glades were meant for man to be. I guess it all in where a person grows up. Have a great day.

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