Worth the wait

Waiting for that pretty woman

Who knew we’d have to wait in line to get into the Everglades? We’d already driven through them for an hour or so when we arrived at the entrance to Everglades National Park where a static line of cars eager to get in meant that we had to wait another hour just to get a parking place. With my lifetime Senior pass, the entrance was free and It didn’t take long for our first photo opportunity to appear. Since the Broadway musical Pump Boys & Dinettes has been the theme for this vacation, the immediate words that popped to mind were “I’m going to send home postcards, the cutest ones I can find; especially the ones where the alligator is about to bite the pretty woman’s behind.”

…especially the ones where the alligator is about to bite the pretty woman’s behind.

Bill in Everglades
Bill somewhere in the Everglades

As you can tell from the photo, this 12-foot long gator was sleeping (we hope) right beside the footpath about 100 yards from the visitor center. Once we edged past him we were on the raised wooden walkway that led through the lush growth you can see here about to swallow up Bill. In that same area were huge expanses of open grass fields filled with birds that, we were told, normally eat seeds but because of the wet winter and the abundance of fish had temporarily altered their diet to seafood.

Everglades grasses
A sea of Everglades grasses

We stayed in a hotel right at the western edge of the wilderness just before it turns into the sprawl called Naples. This area, a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico, was first developed in the 1950s and then redesigned in the 1980s with not a lot having been done since then. Since we’re on a classic Florida trip our tatty “resort” fit right in with our expectation of what we would have found here over half a century ago.The dining room features black and white photos of the property taken dockside showing cars with fins in the parking lot and bathing beauties poolside in one-piece swimsuits and bouffant hairstyles, all from a previous era.

Stay tuned for manatees and mermaids as we visit Weeki Wachi and its warm springs.