Into the Swamp

photoWe took a trip to Six Mile Cypress Slough while we were in south Florida.  It’s a slice of old Florida not far off the beaten path but with the feel of an ancient primordial swamp.photoSnakes like this Banded Water Snake and small alligators glide beneath your feet on the boardwalk that winds several miles through the swamp.  The harsh cries of anhingas and herons echoes across the water.photoMassive cypress trees shoot toward the sky and block the sun.photoAnd their bizarre “knees” bump up through water that is dotted with clumps of duck weed.  Some theorize these knees support the tree in the shallow soil, while other theories suggest that the knees help oxygenate the trees.  Either way, they add to the primordial feel. (The oily patches come from the cypress trees and are not pollution.)
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The swamp is filled with mosses, epiphytes, and bromeliads (which mostly weren’t blooming in the dry season). Many unusual kinds of ferns, like the Resurrection Fern that comes alive after a rainstorm, are also found here.

Guided tours with naturalists are available, but we saw a wide variety of plant life and wildlife on our own. And Florida water birds are easy for children and non-birders to spot. We watched a Great Blue Heron stalking fish, noisy Grebes skittering over the water, and clouds of chittering ibis dipping their curved beaks deep in the amber water.

I highly recommend Six Mile Cypress Slough as a glimpse into the “real” Florida that I never tire of revisiting.

Maybe you’d like it too.

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