Sunday, January 8, 2012
Great Blue Heron
“white” form of Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow?
West Indian Manatee
Atlantic Bottlenosed Dolphin
Whale species? (heard groan, blowhole and large silhouette within 40 yards of shore on New Year’s Eve along Gulf of Mexico @ approximately 2100 hours)(possibly more than one passing)
Southern Leopard Frog
Brown Water Snake
Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Indigo Snake
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Hawk Mountain Conservation Corps Everglades Expedition of 2011-2012
After two days of work in the swamp, 54.5 miles of paddling, swarms of bugs, and a few other unexpected surprises our expedition was completed. This was the first big trip our corps group has gone on. I think we were all a little unsure of what was to come but it ended up a big success. Our trip taught us all a lot. Not only of new species and plants but it gave us experiences that we will never forget. The 10 day trip, including inside jokes, rough times, and team work, brought us all closer. Also, after seeing all of this protected land, I acquired a better sense of what conservation entails. It is much different from the wildlife we see around our houses. Instead of seeing the usual turkey vulture or a grackle we would see a variety of wading birds such as egrets and ibis as well as osprey carrying fish they caught from the ocean. This memorable trip was a great learning experience and has sparked our interest in conservation even more.
Share the Journey,
What could possibly possess 6 young adults and 3 fairly sane adults to paddle 100's of pounds of water food and gear through a buggy labyrinth of wilderness? Was it just to "get away from it all", or was it just for the adventure? We certainly had solitary times and many adventurous moments on our 54 mile paddle, this is true. But, we also journeyed through the wilderness to experience and be a part of a preserved ecosystem that allows plants and animals to thrive and prosper, which is a unique thing in a land full of strip malls, subdivisions and multi lane highways.
The authenticity of Everglades wilderness allowed the expedition members a chance to return to a primitive mindset for just a little while. With nothing but the sound of paddles lapping the water, our internal dialogue switched from the fast paced and instantaneous developed world, to the subtle, raw world of the wilderness. Wilderness is more than a remote plot of ground, it exemplifies our roots and core as humans. It teaches and gives, as long as we keep these wilderness areas intact.
Wilderness trips are also incredibly fun with good company! Thanks Todd, Ryan, Liam, Ben, David, Sam, Connor and Lucas for an unforgettable Everglades expedition!
The phrase, “calm before the storm,” is more than just an expression. The water today was as flat and glassy as we’ve yet seen, and the sky was only streaked with wispy cirrus clouds. The strongest winds we’ve encountered so far on the trek were about 10 knots; according to the portable radio, tonight will bring 30-knot winds. In light of the oncoming gale, we decided to combine the last two days of paddling into one afternoon. After two hours of listening to David repeatedly count down from 100, we left the Gulf of Mexico and entered Florida bay. It was the first time in three days that there’s been land on both sides of our canoes.
The return to society was abrupt and overwhelming. Flamingo Island feels more like New York City than a national park campsite. Hot showers and running water feel like luxuries, almost like we’re cheating at camping. Right now I’m looking at black storm clouds drifting near the horizon, and it seems like we’ll be spending most of tomorrow in tents.