Yesterday’s post was all about crocodiles, today it is the alligator’s turn. I think that this one had its mouth open, not for any culinary reasons, but to regulate its body temperature. It was hot for February, in the high eighties. Like last year, we were visiting the northeast corner of the Everglades, at a place called Shark Valley, which gets its name because it is the headwaters of the Shark River. I don’t know how it got that name, because we were tens of miles inland there. The Native American name, which translated means river of grass makes a lot more sense. The flat terrain is covered with Sawgrass, as far as the eye can see. Winter is the dry season where water in the Everglades is confined to so-called gator holes and so too is most of the wildlife.
There is a bicycle rental concession at Shark Valley and we partook of that. The fifteen mile roundtrip trail is paved and except for the passing tram, was without obstacles. Unlike last year, when the gators were basking at its edge and caused us to violate the park’s fifteen foot separation rule, just to get around them. This gator was at the terminus of the trail, where a multi-story observation tower is erected, giving an excellent view of the surrounding Sawgrass sea. A trail leading by this beast had been closed, due to the obvious danger.