Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shark Valley Bike Tour

After completing the tram tour in less than ideal circumstances (way too many people), we decided to bring our bicycles the next day and bike the 15 miles.  Riding a bicycle in Florida is super easy since there are no hills, but we hadn't done a bike ride that long.

We arrived before the park opened at 8:30 and parked outside by the highway and rode our bikes into the park.  Once we got inside, we were surprised to see about 10 people on the banks taking pictures.

We caught a picture of this bird that I thought might be a Kingfisher or Shrike, but I don't think it is either.  Anyone know the identity????

Once we went down the road about half a mile, we had it all to ourselves.

The bikes are much quieter and the wildlife didn't seem to get as startled as they did when we came by in the tram yesterday.

These two Woodstorks let us ride right by them.

One of the things we learned on the tram tour was that the alligators do most of their feeding at night and then digest their food during the day.  They are pretty inactive during the day.  We also knew from the Everglades, they pretty much just sit there if you don't bother them or their babies.  We weren't too worried about them on the road, but I have to say I didn't stand around waiting for them to move. ;)

This is the same picture giving you some perspective of how close it was to the road.

We also got a glimpse of some more Spoonbills,

a Common Tern,

Great White Egret and another Spoonbill.  Seven miles into the ride, you come to the observation center where you can climb to the top and get an overview of Shark Valley in the Everglades.

On our ride back, we saw lots more gators and birds.  Each mile is marked with a number so you can keep up with where you are.  We finally came to

  One more mile to go!  We finished in a little under three hours even with all our stopping.  It was a pretty easy ride and we really enjoyed it.  The tram ride is certainly informative, but if you want to see the wildlife in a much more private setting, ride your bike or rent one there.

After we got back to the fifth wheel and had lunch, we decided to drive over to the other Visitor's Center we had not been to yet.

We stopped at the Ochopee Post Office, the smallest post office in the United States.  It was formerly an irrigation pipe shed, but was hurriedly pressed into service after a fire in 1953 burned the Ochopee General Store and Post Office.  The present structure has been in continual use ever since.

This was our last day in the Everglades. Tomorrow, we begin a journey north.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure your mystery bird is a black-crowned night heron. They live in Florida year-round.