My Adventure Story
Paddlers Pete Hohmann, Ron Sevcik, Bill Burnham and Joel Beckwith's 8 day 113 mile kayak camping trip through the backcountry of Everglades National Park. The trip started on Hells Bay Canoe Trail near Flamingo. We Camped the first night on Lane Bay Chickee. Day 2, we paddled up Whitewater Bay, through the Labyrinth to Shark River then down to Ponce de Leon Bay and Camped at Graveyard Creek. Day 3, up the Harney to the Nightmare, through the Nightmare and camped on Highland Beach. Day 4, up the Rogers River to Willy Willy campsite. Day 5, on to Plate Creek Chickee. Day 6, through Gopher and Charlie Creeks back out to the Gulf to camp on Turkey Key. Day 7, Up the gulf by way of the Auger to our campsite Jewel Key. Day 8 onto Everglades City.
There are no roads between the access points, (The road to Flamingo and Everglades City/Chokoloskee). We chose our route to minimize power boats and saw or heard very few. This gave the trip a quietude and wilderness feeling that is difficult to find in the Eastern U.S. We followed many small mangrove creeks that at times shrunk down into tunnels narrower than our kayak paddles then would transition into fresh or brackish bays or the Gulf. Our Campsites where Chickees, raised wooden platforms, Ground sites, which are much nicer than Chickees and some are raised Indian Shell Mounds, and Beach sites on the gulf. There is very little light pollution making for unparallelled viewing of the winter night sky! Bugs can be a problem. They are not to bad in January and February although we carried a screen house, bug clothes and headnets just in case.
The wildlife was nothing short of fantastic! We saw Alligators, Crocodiles, sea and freshwater Turtles, Dolphins, Manatees, Sharks, Eagle and Sting Rays, Red Fish you could walk across, Sea Trout, Lady Fish, Jacks, and Mullet jumping everywhere. The bird life was ridiculous. We saw and heard Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, American Avocets, Anhingas, Pileated and Red Bellied Woodpeckers, White and Brown Pelicans, Great Horned and Barred Owls. Great Blue, Great White, Tricolored, Little Blue and Little Green Herons. Yellow and Black Crowned Night Herons. Great and Snowy Egrets. Coots, Moorhens, Pied-Billed Gebe, Lesser Scaup, Red Breasted and Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Belted Kingfisher, Swallow Tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Osprey and loads of Red Shouldered Hawks. Pipers, Plovers, Turnstones, Gulls and Turns. As the sun warmed the mangal we could hear the ubiquitous call of the Prairie Warbler. As usual I saw no snakes. In fact in all the time I've spent in the Everglades backcountry I've seen very few snakes, let alone venomous ones.
To find out about Burnham Guides' 2013 Everglades trip, go to www.BurnhamGuides.com
or email Mary@BurnhamGuides.com