Due to weather and other obstacles, not much hiking or exploring occurred from the end of October thru the beginning of November. However, Veterans Day Weekend found us in Fort Lauderdale on a different type of exploration. Six months ago, our daughter had moved down to Florida so when the temperatures reached a tolerable level, we decided it was time for a quick visit.
Once we met up at the hotel, our daughter thought it would be rather cool to explore the Everglades via an airboat tour. Our drive towards the park followed a canal that I noticed from the map ran from the Everglades to the coast. As a mother I felt some amount of fear knowing that my daughter could get to both places via her rubber kayak, where she could get lost in the Everglades and attacked by gators in one direction or washed out to sea in what in my mind amounted to a rubber raft in the other. These are the types of thoughts that keep many mothers awake at night. So, you can imagine I how relieved I felt when I noticed fences along the way. Later on she also admitted that she would be afraid of getting lost in all the different waterways making up the park.
During the tour, I kept studying the volume of waterlilies along the way. I was intrigued by the almost closed yellow flowers that were open just enough to reveal an orange center within. Our guide was very informative, providing us with information about the various inhabitants and threats to the Everglades, as well as spotting alligators and iguanas for us. One statement caused our daughter to comment to us that “so all of Florida is basically invasive”. I later tried to confirm some of the information. I was unsuccessful in verifying our guide’s comments on salt water within the park but I did find quite a few sources that indicated 26% of the species within the Everglades was considered exotic or invasive.
After our visit to the park, we headed to the downtown area where we had a fabulous lunch before walking along the canal. We spotted a few lizards along the way. At one point, we sat on a bench and watched a pair of squirrels running around a rather odd looking tree. I was so caught up in this that I failed to spot the interesting bird beneath the tree. When the heat began to bother us, we headed back to the hotel for a brief respite before heading out again.
We ended the day walking along the boardwalk at Hollywood Beach. It was enjoyable strolling along a well-lit walkway that provided access for both pedestrians and cyclists. We wandered around studying the various shops and restaurants on one side and the waves breaking on the shore on the other. After dinner, we strolled back along the beach to our starting point and called it a day. It had been a great fun filled day made even more special by spending it with our daughter.