Our friend Reggis from Glades Haven
We did it! Kayaked through the Everglades! What a remarkable experience. Here’s the update.
We showed up at the Ranger Station in Everglades City at 0800 hrs and stood in line to apply for our permit to travel through the Everglades. The process works like this. You fill out a form and state what campsites you intend to stay at and a Ranger checks to see if there is availability. All this is done for safety and managing space.
We plan on taking a very conservative route through this section so mileage is not a priority. This should take us seven days. Our permits are approved, no problem. It cost us around $34.
The Park service recommends taking one gallon of fresh water per day. That’s a lot of water and the most weight our yaks have handled so far. It’s like paddling a freight train! Rangers also warn to protect our water since raccoons have been known to chew through water containers. Yikes!
As we leave Glades Haven we paddle slow out the channel to our route. The seas are calm, weather overcast. Over the next several days we will see tons of dolphin, pelicans, Ibis, and Herron. One day we actually saw a dolphin jump about 10 feet straight out of the water before nose diving back in. It was a display similar to a Sea World show. Amazing!
We will also experience massive amounts of mosquitoes and no-see-ums. At Highland Beach we see the carcasses of several Mink Whales that washed ashore several weeks prior. You may remember news accounts of it.
Probably the worst camping experience is at Graveyard Creek. You must enter this site at high tide or be forced to walk through mud. Luckily we didn’t have any problems. The mosquitoes here were horrendous. We sat around wearing head nets and splashing on tons of DEET repellent. It hardly helped. Ahhhh, the Everglades experience. Here we also meet Merv, another paddler from North Carolina on a several day journey. Merv was here a couple years ago and loves the area.
No doubt the most scenic part of this section are the beaches from Northwest Cape Sable to Flamingo. Lots of places to pull over and set up a tent. Stunning views too.
On the last day we decide to paddle long and make it to Flamingo a day early. The wind was with us so we take advantage of it. Upon arrival we see our friend Gus. He’s here to meet us with cold beer and a smile. Wow!
Now, you may remember when Jim snapped his wood paddle just before Marco Island. Well the fine folks at Great Outdoor Provision Center in Charlotte, NC offered to replace the paddle with a brand new Werner Camano carbon fiber paddle. Kudos to Gwen Crabtree for making all this happen. Our friend Wes Payne in Charlotte told Jim the paddle would be shipped to the marine store in Flamingo, FL and would be there upon our arrival.
Jim was so anxious to get the paddle. As we walked to the marine store, who do we see pull up? Wes Payne and his wife Carol! They drove all the way from Charlotte, NC just to deliver the paddle to Jim. What remarkable friends. In fact, what they intended to do was rent kayaks and paddle out to meet Jim to hand deliver it. They made up “FEDEX Aquatic Delivery” signs and even had “Fedex name tags”. Too cool! Even though they didn’t get to make a water delivery since we arrived a day early, Jim still was still blown away by the this incredible display of “Aquatic Trail Magic” that Wes and Carol shared. Thanks guys.