Nike Missile Base

While we were exploring the park on the first day, we discovered a sign pointing to the Nike Missile Base.

Most of us enjoy history, and decided that a tour sounded interesting. We missed the tour the first day but planned to go back.

The tour was excellent. The guide shared a lot of information and the hour and a half tour went by very quickly.

We learned that only men worked at this site. They hated the snakes and the mosquitoes! During free time, they would often race their cars up and down the straight roads outside of the base.

We also learned a lot about the Cuban missile crisis, history while the base was in operation and general history of the area.

If you are ever in the Everglades, I would highly recommend the tour (just check out the times before hand, it is not open all the time)

Canoeing

When asked what we wanted to do on vacation, Megan quickly responded “go canoeing”. So Allan made sure that was one of our activities.

We had decided on a trip we wanted, but was told that the path was still messed up from the last hurricane that went through. So we decided to paddle the canal to Coot Bay and explore the bay.

The canal was pretty and mostly calm. We saw birds and a few crocodiles. A few sightseeing boats went by and some kayaks.

As we got closer to Coot Bay, the wind got stronger and it was harder to paddle. Except for Megan, everyone has paddled before, but no one has really paddled in strong wind. Instead of exploring the Bay, we decided to head back and enjoy lunch on a dock we had seen nearby.

After a relaxing lunch of gorp, we headed back. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery.

Manatee

When I was little, my grandparents moved to Florida. We visited with them, but I can not remember ever seeing manatee. I know that I really wanted to though.

This trip, we were able to see a lot of them. I am not sure what the total was, but we enjoyed watching them most everyday we were there.

Allan figured out that there was a drip in these waterlines, so the manatee would hide under the dock for fresh water. It was fun watching them.

While standing on the dock, I realized that there was a manatee just under where I was standing. He flipped his tail and startled me, it was a lot closer than I had thought!

We know there was at least one momma and baby. We could distinguish at least three other ones. The kids insisted they were all either “Barbara” or “Bill”.

Obey the Signs

We discovered this sign at the campsite. I did not want to see the snakes, but hoped to see alligators. But alas… there were snakes in the campground.

We first meet this Eastern Diamond Back Rattler.
Then Audrey discovered this snake near her feet while pulling down some clothes from the line. (She did not obey the 15 feet rule. )

She also did not scream or jump or act surprised. She calmly informed me, “Mom, there’s a black snake over where the clothes were hanging.”

We saw another snake while driving and the kids noticed a few small ones while we were hiking. I am thankful that we did not see many and I was never the one who saw them first!

Camping in Everglades

We have enjoyed many nights camping with the family. We all enjoy back country back packing, carrying everything we need in backpacks and walking or canoeing to each camp site.

This trip, we went “car camping” instead. Everything we needed for our trip fit into our van. We did run to Walmart the first day to get some gas and some fresh vegetables. However, we kept things very simple. Oatmeal for breakfast, gorp and granola bars for lunch and simple meals for dinner.

The sites we stayed at in “Lone Pine Key” were very nice. Since our family is “large” we needed to have two sites. The boys slept across the street from us, so we had a lot of space. The view outside our windows was always relaxing.

It was also amazingly quiet most of the time! During the day children would be on bikes or scooters, or you would see people walking. But, unlike many campgrounds, there was very little noise or music.

Once the sun went down, the mosquitoes came out, so it was a great time to head inside to get ready for a busy tomorrow!