Tag Archives: exploring

Expedition to the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree continued…..


A few feet beyond this marker you could see more large sequoias and a building which turned out to be restrooms. Just beyond the restrooms there, in the midst of a stand of redwoods was the museum. The sight causes you to forget the distance hiked as you become engrossed in the amazing view in front of you. This little cabin surrounded by giant trees making it appear as though it is a little play house in a forest. Almost as if you have entered a different world. I felt like an ant playing among a few trees. This was a feeling I have never experienced before and not sure how to understand it now. Thinking back, it makes me laugh and appreciate the feeling was so odd. Always exploring looking for new experiences. This was definitely a new experience. It’s not like being in an airplane with everything else near the ground looking so small. If allowed, you will feel inferior to the surroundings becoming afraid of nature and any animals that might come your way. Fearing they will also be giant in scale able to squash you like a bug with no defense.


After taking in these impressive moments we continued on to reach our destination of the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree. The trail continues up in elevation a little more ending near a paved road used by the tram and a large tree laying on the ground. This is a great opportunity to explore a giant sequoia up, down, inside, and out. You can get a sense of just how large some these trees get as their diameter is taller than you are when lying on the ground and the length just seems to keep going. The children spent several minutes playing around inside this tree and climbing on top of it (after I showed them how to get on top of the tree of course). This tree alone may not justify the hike but along with the trees near the museum it was definitely worth it.


Having to hike back we decided it was time to get off the fallen tree and begin our journey back to the vehicles. As we headed back we took in as much of the sequoias as possible and the feeling of being extremely tiny in this world. One more stop to re-fill water bottles at the museum and another bathroom break. We were off taking the same trail looking forward to sitting down on a cushioned seat again. Shortly after heading back down the trail we encountered another family wondering the same thing we did at that point – “are we close yet?” Laughing we explained how close they were and those were our exact thoughts at that same area on the trail. There was a sense of relief in their faces knowing their destination was near. Funny to be on both sides of wondering just how much further at that spot on the trail.


Our hike back took only half as long as it did to get up to the museum as this time it was all down hill. The joy of being back at the parking lot brought a stop to the gift shop for ice cream before letting the vehicles do the work for awhile as we headed to get the monopoly board signed before leaving Yosemite National Park for the last time. The children all slept well that night. Probably the adults too!

Expedition to the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree

Fallen Tree Description

A few days after hiking in Mariposa Grove, we were intrigued by the lure of the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree further up the trail and decided this would be a nice hike to end our time in Yosemite. According to the sign posts along the trail this was a little over 4 miles to hike. Using My Tracks from Google, we hiked over 5 miles almost 6 miles (in an effort to appease our travel companions from HobbyJeep.com). Either way this is a long distance for a 4 year old (the youngest of our group of 9) to walk and she did this remarkably well.

The Youngest Member of Our Group Hiking to the Wawona Tree

There is an alternative to hiking to the Wawona Tunnel Tree, you can purchase a ride on the tram going from the parking lot to the tree and back taking just over an hour. There are a couple of reasons this did not fit into our objectives. Cost was the first deterrent. For a group of 2 or so the cost isn’t so bad but for a group of 9 the expense became larger than we were comfortable with. Next, the challenge of a hike this distance for the kids would be a good experience. Finally, the tram only stops twice for people to get on and off to explore these incredible trees. We didn’t find this out until after we got to the museum near the tunnel tree. By hiking we were able to walk among many sequoias and enjoy the trail. In addition, for the Monopoly Travelers, this was a good opportunity to experience a nice hike before heading to Isle Royale National Park where hiking would be our only method of travel.

Fire, Death, and New Beginnings

Armed with a pack consisting of fruit and trail bars along with plenty of water and our cameras it was off to the trail. Don’t forget the med kit as scratches are very possible. The first mile was familiar as we  reached a number of trees visited a few days prior such as the Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree. Soon it was on to new trails exploring vistas we haven’t seen in search for more amazing vistas. After hiking about 2 hours we were starting to wonder how far away it was as we hadn’t passed anyone in a little while. It is at these times your mind plays tricks on you as you begin to wonder if you missed a turn somewhere or took a wrong turn earlier. Fighting these detrimental thoughts we pressed on and approached the top of the hill we had been climbing to entire time and found a trail marker. In addition to the mileage we were also climbing about 800 feet in altitude. The marker told us we were near the museum and still on the right track.

Isle Royale part III

Taking the Trail by Huginnin Cove

The first portion of this trail follows the shoreline of Lake Superior giving amazing vistas demanding a moment of your time to take in all the sight has to offer. There are many places along this trail begging you to stop and see what nature has created. Unfortunately this also means more time with a full backpack strapped to you each time you give in to natures majesty. Each ache and pain in your body asks that you keep moving so that this heavy load can be taken off. Each person has to decide which portion of this battle will win. I gave in to the natural creations knowing that the pain will go away but the memories will be there for a long time. I would have regretted not taking in this part of the island. As the trail turned inward to cross the island we began to ascend up a long hill being greeted with a light rain shower. This was no real surprise as we could see the clouds off in the distance while walking along the shore. Wendigo Mine

Near the top of this hill the rain subsided but the mosquitoes began targeting us for lunch. These mosquitoes where persistent for much of the trail encouraging a faster pace. Our group split into two during this trail: a faster group and a little more relaxed pace keeping in contact with the use of two-way radios. Each group continued on the trail going up and over rocks, around water, and on to our final destination taking a moment to explore an old copper mine along the way. The first group reached Washington Creek and secured the same shelter we used earlier. Our second group had a little more interesting trek. After stopping to explore the Wendigo Mine, they came upon a moose blocking the trail. Slowly backing away as anyone who has encountered a moose knows that they own whatever territory there on. After backing away it was decided to remove the packs as who knows how long the moose would be here and it would be easier to blend in to the trees without the additional weight if that need should arise. After about 15 minutes the moose moved on along with her calf allowing this group to continue towards and eventually reaching Washington Creek.

Tracks Left Behind From the Mine

Everyone was glad to be back at this first campsite quickly removing the packs and resting a few minutes before setting up camp for the last night. The night was cool and again treated us to a sky filled with stars. Our next morning consisted of eating and packing up getting ready to board the Sea Hunter III for a return trip to the mainland. Once again the morning was beautiful and sun drenched giving us one last day with amazing weather. Our younger participants became Junior Rangers once again and where ready to shove off after four days of extreme camping. If you can believe it, this was done with children from 7 to 12 years of age who all carried at least some items as far as they could. A learning experience for all. Just imagine how little we can actually live on and how little we need to survive compared to everything we desire in everyday life. Even living on this little, there were and are people who live on less!

The Sea Hunter III

Exploring Yosemite

Yosemite Falls Upper and Lower

Before leaving on this adventure I had heard about and seen pictures of Half Dome and several of the waterfalls. I also new that this was the third busiest national park in 2011 so there were likely to be a lot of people visiting during the summer. We had made reservations at the Ahwahnee Hotel for dinner as this holds a spot on the Monopoly National Parks Board. Other than that, I didn’t even look at a map or things to do before making this trip so I didn’t even know where we needed to go for dinner. Part of this was due to the craziness of spring with school activities coming to an end along with extracurricular activities ending and all of the end of year celebrations that go along with that. Being a horticulturalist I was also working hard in the yard as life was returning and getting things ready for the up coming summer. Part of my lack of preparation was wanting to be somewhat surprised and flexible to explore whatever caught our attention.

A Giant Sequoia

After arriving at our overnight lodging we headed to Yosemite National Park for a few hours of adventure. We stayed outside the park in Oakhurst as many of the areas inside the park were filled before we could make reservations and the cost was somewhat less. There was no disappointment as we headed to Mariposa Grove to get a glance at the giant sequoias. I have seen some large trees but these were almost unbelievable they can grow so large. There were a lot of people walking around which I expected but there were still areas of solitude allowing us to listen to nature around us so all was good. As night was beginning to fall it was time to leave and hopefully catch the setting sun over the mountains.

Half Dome

Our first full day provided us with warm temperatures and blue sky as Glacier Point was our first destination for the first glimpse of Yosemite Valley. Along the way we stopped a time or two to take in the sights. There was even a park ranger filming a video. Not sure for what, we didn’t ask but this is California. Filming is expected I think. Once arriving at Glacier Point we started to get a taste of all of the other people visiting. Parking became a little more of a challenge and there were plenty of lines for the bathrooms. Make sure you plan extra time if going during the summer for lines and finding parking.Views from here are phenomenal! All at one time you can see Half Dome and several waterfalls along with most of Yosemite Valley where people are full of activity. Bring binoculars and you can see people climbing Half Dome. They look like ants busily exploring one area or another.

Yosemite Valley

As early afternoon could quickly turn into evening we decided it was time to go down into the valley and locate the location of our dinner plans. It takes about an hour to get into the valley with plenty to see along the way. You may get carsick as there are many twists and turns jolting you from one side of the vehicle towards the other as you meander down the road. Along the way there is a tunnel carved out of the mountain adding to the interest of the trip. Once out of the tunnel you are struck with an amazing and popular view of Yosemite Valley. Moving on towards the village we stopped and became mesmerized by the base of a Bridalveil Falls. Watching as the water plunges toward you and feeling the mist as the breeze directs the falls towards you was well worth a few minutes to stop. Continuing on we began to feel the presence of so many people as the only way to find parking was to wait for another vehicle to leave. With an hour or so to spare before dinner we stopped at the visitor center to look over the exhibits and took in a quick ranger program. Then it was off to the Ahwahnee for dinner.

Sunset on the Way Back to Glacier Point

After dinner it was time to take in a little wildlife viewing, sometimes a little closer than desired, and off to find a nice location to see the sunset and possibly take in the night sky. Off to Glacier Point once again as this is partially on the way back to our hotel and was high enough we could possibly still catch the setting sun. Along the way a Coyote decided to play chicken with the vehicle. We won. (there were no animals injured during this adventure) Unfortunately we missed the setting sun and had to settle for the evening sky and wait for the stars to appear. As the night grew darker we could see hikers as they descended from Half Dome using flashlights (In the photo below if you look hard enough you can see bright light on the left side of Half Dome towards to bottom. That is a hiker descending). Being exhausted from the day’s activities it was time to return to the hotel and catch a few hours of sleep.

Night Sky Over Half Dome

The final day was filled with a 5 mile hike to explore many of the sequoias in Mariposa Grove. For many it may seem odd that we could fill a day with this short of a hike but I would like to mention we were with 5 children and the youngest was 4 years old. This is not just a straight hike, there are many stopping points along the way such as playing in the water whenever there is a stream, climbing any available rock, and playing around the trees. This does not even include the water, snack, and bathroom breaks. Are you starting to understand? Besides, it was not a race but an opportunity to explore our surroundings. I was amazed at the number of people we encountered along the way. How do you keep things as natural as possible when there are so many people beating the trails through the forest? This is the dilemma for the National Park Service. Maintaining nature while allowing as many people as want to explore it. After the hike it was off to find a ranger to sign our board and get something to eat. There is so much more I would like to do but that seems to be the case at most of the parks. Our Monopoly Travels were never meant to be full explorations, just a taste of what each park has to offer in an attempt to experience different landscapes and cultures that the United States has to offer.


More Giant Sequoias

An Easy National Parks Trip?

Yosemite  Dinner at Ahwahnee     Nat'l Parks Image Map     Isle Royale

The planning for this summers Monopoly National Parks board trips are in full progress. Our destinations include Yosemite National Park which includes a stop at Ahwahnee for dinner and Isle Royale National Park.  These were expected to be fairly easy trips to plan because we’re meeting some friends in California and then heading to Yosemite for a few days. This is a somewhat familiar area for us as we have been there visiting various friends and relatives so we have a good idea of what we need to do and where to go. Isle Royale is the closest park to us on the Monopoly Board so again should be fairly easy to plan for.

As is often the case, what should be the easiest may turn out to be one of the biggest challenges. The challenges with Yosemite come in from finding a suitable place to stay. We questioned camping however that idea came a few days to late as it was a few days after campsite reservations became available. Apparently campsites fill up minutes after becoming available. Who knew? Certainly not me. A good learning experience. There’s a few options left but we probably should get it nailed down soon or there may be no more options left.

Map Showing Location of Isle Royale

Isle Royale is one of the locations I was most excited to see since it is practically in my own back yard and yet provides a very different atmosphere than I am use to. Since this is within a few hours drive time (~5 hours to be exact) we could take a quick trip to Northern Minnesota, hop on a boat for a couple of hours, tour the area close to one of the visitor centers, and get back on the boat for a return trip to our car and be done. Did I mention that this park requires special transportation since it is on an Island in Lake Superior? Interestingly this is the one place where Minnesota and Michigan border each other.

I have wanted to camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for a number of years and have not fulfilled that desire. Camping on Isle Royale would qualify in my opinion. Unfortunately we are restricted to 40 pounds of gear each on the boat without further costs. The boat ride already is getting more expensive than I was counting on at $67 per person per way bringing a total for 4 of us to $536 just to get there. That does not include a fuel surcharge, parking, and park fees. In order to camp on the island we are going to need full camping and hiking gear including a tent, backpacks, food, water, cooking supplies, etc.… This Tent is a Little Big for Hiking

I don’t’ think my 10 person tent is going to work very well on this trip. It could very well weigh 40 pounds all by itself. When the realization of what we are up against hit me it was very daunting and exciting. Never camping while hiking before makes me a little nervous. Now add that I’m going to be going with my wife and two younger children really added to this nervousness. I’ve been spending countless hours researching Isle Royale and what is needed in order to make this a great experience for all. My nerves have been settling after reading and looking at necessary equipment. The excitement is returning for mid-August when this trip is planned for. Fortunately I started planning for this early enough to locate what we need and practice a little before we go. Now the big question is – can I carry 40 pounds of gear while hiking for several days? Also, can we fit everything we need into the packs for me, Karen, and the kids? Okay, so there are more than just one question at this time. In addition, we are hoping to include Voyageurs National Park for a few days. This also presents challenges since much of this park requires a boat. Still much to learn and prepare for.

More Bits and Pieces From the Keys

The Beautiful Ocean Water in Florida

Our arrival in Key West was in plenty of time to check in at the hotel, find a place to park, and even look for a few souvenirs all before the sunset experience in Mallory Square. I will do a complete post on Mallory Square later so not many details will be shared here.   While at Mallory Square we witnessed a couple miss their cruise ship requiring them to chase the ship down in a small boat and climb aboard using a rope ladder all while the ship was backing out of the harbor and a gorgeous sunset. While on a past cruise I had the pleasure of catching the last tender boat out to the ship as I tend to want to explore as long as possible (my father-in-law has more stories of that). While watching the couple chase the ship I was asked how much of a chance I would take on another cruise if that is a possible result of being too late. To me, this would be a fun experience which I may try on the next cruise so this show had the opposite effect on me than desired by my wife. In her defense, she thought I missed the ship so has already had a taste of what that feels like and would prefer not to experience that again. Only time will tell I guess. I may try to take her with me while missing the ship. This photo of the sunset reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean.

A Schooner at Sunset

The next morning there was the pleasure of an alarm clock. This was never intended however the noise coming from this chicken made it a little difficult to sleep. Being awakened at sunrise was not in the plans but apparently was necessary. While laying there wanting to go back to sleep I couldn’t decide whether I had the desire to go out and feed the animals or have chicken for lunch. A word of caution, chickens are quite common on Key West so there is a greater chance that this will happen. After getting up and deciding to eat breakfast there was still a crowing close by. I decided to find this chicken so intent on waking us up. Once it was spotted all I could do was smile as I showed it to Karen who was equally irritated with this chicken. I smiled because I knew once she caught sight of the little baby chicks with the hen this rooster was protecting she would instantly forget about her irritations. How can you stay made at the cute little baby chickens?

The Guilty Rooster


And His Hen and Chicks

By the way, we did end up eating chicken later that day!

Bits and Pieces From the Keys

Entering the Keys

During our journey to Key West we enjoyed a number of activities along the way. A year ago while driving out to Key West for the first time I had read about this place called Robbie’s Marina. If you’re interested you can read the post describing potential activities in the keys here. On that trip we never found Robbie’s. As it turns out, it was dark by the time we got to Islamorada which is why I never saw it. This time, however, we made the trip during the middle of the day in order to enjoy more of the sights along US 1 and just as we crossed the bridge to Islamorada, there it was – a sign for Robbie’s. I quickly slammed on the breaks and made the turn into the marina. It was never our intention to stop but there it was so we at least had to check it out.

Dock "Hazards" - Pelicans

I was amazed at how busy it was. There were some open air shops along with a restaurant and the marina. It costs $1.00 per person to enter the docks for the famous tarpon feeding. We paid our fee along with purchasing some food for the fish and on to the designated spot we went. There are some hazards you encounter before getting to the fish. These “hazards” are the pelicans. Not only do the fish like an easy meal but so do these feathered friends. They are not shy about chasing you and trying to steal your bucket of fish food (bait fish). Once getting past the gauntlet of birds we moved quickly to the feeding area set up to keep them out. I was advised not to get to close to the water as the fish take whatever appears and smells like food. All in all we spent about an hour at Robbie’s and enjoyed the sights. At their website they have webcams available to view the tarpon and pelicans. It’s a good reminder for us of our short time there.

Feeding the Tarpon

After this fun experience we continued onward toward Key West. Fortunately along the way there are several places you can pull off and enjoy the scenery or go fishing. We decided it was time to eat so we happened by this great park right by US 1. There was cold pizza and fruit in the trunk from previous meals and we each had a drink with us so a nice spot with a little shade to eat and then enjoy some sun was in order. We could have easily spent the rest of the afternoon here as the temperatures were near 80 0F with a slight breeze but our ultimate goal was to get to Key West in time to experience the sunset there so back on the road for the remainder of the trip. Looking at the photo below can you blame us for wanting to stay longer?

Lunch with a View

For more bits and pieces from the keys click here…

Discovering Paul Revere

Exploring the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts provided several experiences that led to a greater appreciation for our Independence and freedom. Witnessing the sights of the Boston Massacre and Bunker Hill where the first battle of the Revolution took place to the Old North Church made famous for the ‘one if by land and two if by sea’ begins to make you realize some of the things involved in bringing about our Independence.  History classes teach of Paul Revere warning about the British by signaling which direction they were coming from and his famous ride through Boston shouting “the British are coming, the British are coming!” Apparently he was involved in many planning sessions leading up to the Revolutionary War and was integral during the war as well.  But what else did Paul Revere do?Paul Revere's Ride

I was surprised to learn that he was a metal smith working with copper, gold, and silver. Many of his works were put into a number of building which can be seen on the Freedom Trail such as the Massachusetts State House and the USS Constitution. We visited Paul Revere’s gravesite along with other recognizable names from that time including John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Seeing all of these places brought a further appreciation for the freedoms I enjoy every day and also a few questions. There are people often saying the government is getting to much control. What conditions did the people of the 1770’s have to contend with that war was justified? What conditions would cause the American people today to revolt against the government? I believe we would have to lose a lot more freedoms to justify severe actions like the colonists took. When I compare what those colonists lived with to what we deal with today, we are very fortunate. Staying involved in our government is still very important to prevent those conditions from every becoming reality.

Paul Revere's Grave

Another interesting occurrence surprised me while visiting these places. I continued to have difficulty in believing that I was seeing these historic landmarks. I kept saying that even though I was physically at a location, it didn’t make the events that occurred there any more real. Trying to believe that what happened over 300 years ago was in that exact place was difficult. I know buildings have been re-furbished and updated making them less
realistic to me. Also, the surrounding buildings make it hard to imagine what people such as Paul Revere lived like and the difficulties in coordinating revolutionary activities. Even visiting the grave site didn’t help to bring me to the 1770’s. Some of the issues were many of the building being brick. Looking at renderings of these building when they were originally built show them mainly built out of wood. Also, Paul Revere’s house is still standing and that was made out of wood.  Historical buildings being remodeled along with the skyscrapers that exist next to them now give a very different perspective. Even so, what a great learning experience!

Paul Revere's House

Adding Biscayn N.P.

Boca Chita Key with Miami in the distance

While I’m sure we could spend many days exploring the Everglades National Park, we have chosen to visit nearby Biscayne National Park as part of our excursion to Southern Florida.  This destination is not on our National Parks edition of Monopoly but is a place we highly look forward to experiencing.  It is common for us to add non-board destinations to our trips which help both in tiring us out and packing more experiences into each trip. We have planned for one full day at Biscayne National Park so I hope the weather is nice.  This is not enough time to do all that we would like to do I’m sure but does give us a taste of this park which is the intention of our visits to all of the National Parks on our board.  


Most of Biscayne N.P. is underwater (95%) which is one of the features that really draws us to it.  Snorkeling is a favorite activity whenever we are in tropical waters with reefs.  Kristy is anxious to travel to Southern Florida as this will be her first attempt at snorkeling.  This will be Lysa’s second time snorkeling.  Her first experience was in Cozumel, Mexico three years ago. I am excited to take them and let them experience life on a reef.  They have both looked over pictures of reefs and fish and we have a small saltwater aquarium with corals and fish but to be able to see everything going on at a natural reef is so much more mesmerizing.  Fortunately by watching how different animals work together in our aquarium, Kristy and Lysa will have the opportunity to notice many things that can be missed when snorkeling such as how the cleanup crew (snails, crabs, shrimp, and sea stars) scavenge around the reef and interact with the fish.  Watching all of this will make the day go by exceptionally fast!  

Our home reef away from the reef


While snorkeling appears to be a great way to explore Biscayne National Park, there are other activities that highlight the diversity of this park.  There are hiking trails, the Dante Fascell Visitor Center at Convoy Point, boating, fishing, and a lot of history according to the National Park Service website.  The beginning of the Florida Keys is considered by many to be in Biscayne N.P. – Elliot Key.  Since we won’t have a boat to freely move about the reefs and keys, we need to plan ahead to use the park vendor for boating excursions in order to be able to experience this area and see what we can.  I would like to see the lighthouse on Boca Chita Key and Stiltsville in Biscayne Bay along with snorkeling.  Kristy and Lysa enjoy becoming Junior Rangers at all of the national parks that we visit so this will be a priority at Biscayne National Park as well.  

Motivation and Anticipation!


Camping is allowed on Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key which would be a great way for us to really enjoy and explore this wondrous area.  Unfortunately, we are limited by our arrival to Miami late the day before and have commitments early the day after.  I would love to watch the sun set and rise again from a key while star gazing and surveying the nighttime Miami skyline.  These are some of the things we may have to explore on another trip after completing our National Parks Monopoly Board.  

As I write this I am looking forward to this trip more and more.  Maybe it is time to stop writing about this national park and focus on the upcoming holidays.

Our Next Destination

The Great Egret Among Cypress Trees

Our next National Parks edition monopoly board property has been chosen and planned – Everglades National Park!     

We are planning on spending only two days there which is going to be enough time to start to experience all that this park has to offer.  Our intentions on these trips are only to get an introduction to these parks and experience many different areas of the United States.  Once Lysa and Kristy are older, they can return to whichever locations they may want to explore further and do the activities that interest them.  For now, our family will explore some parts of the Everglades to get a general idea of the intricacies of that park.    

Some interesting information about Everglades National Park:    

  • It is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states with 1.5 million acres
  • Created in 1947 when President Harry S. Truman dedicated the original 460,000 acres
  • This is a sub-tropical environment with a distinct dry season (December – April) and wet season (May – November)
  • Wildlife include the American Alligator, American crocodile, indigo snake, Florida panther, West Indian manatee, many different birds depending on the season, freshwater and saltwater fish, along with many different amphibians
  • Known as the “river of grass” and has the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America


 Exploring the everglades    

There are a number of different ways in which to explore this vast area.  Driving, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, or boating all are options that can give different experiences and perspectives to the diversity of life in Everglades National Park.  For the diehard adventurist there is the option to camp overnight.  We have chosen to enjoy the comforts of environmental controls typically associated with a hotel.  Hiking, driving, canoeing, and boating are the modes of transportation that we are researching currently.     

Once arriving at Everglades National Park we will find out what ranger programs are available and begin to plan our two days according to which programs are of interest to us.  I always enjoy these ranger programs and gain some great information.  Being able to identify some of the flora and fauna or knowing some of the planning and history can really increase the enjoyment while we are out exploring the park on our own.     

There appears to be other tours available such as tram trips, boat tours, bird watching trips, canoe trips, and fishing trips.  These all would give different aspects to the wilderness of the everglades but due to our limited time we can only participate in a few activities.  How do we determine which actives will provide the best experiences for us?  We have to prioritize what we want to do and see the most.

Florida Bay


Once we get a list of the ranger programs we can determine which of those we want to attend and we know that Lysa and Kristy want to get their Junior Ranger badges.  Visiting the Everglades without riding on an airboat doesn’t seem like a complete visit so that is something we want to schedule in.  We will take some time to drive through as much of the park as we can to see how the scenery changes as Everglades change from the saltwater of the ocean to the freshwater rivers and streams that flow through the park.  While driving around we will likely stop in a number of locations to enjoy some hiking at a number of different trails.  If there is time, canoeing would be a great addition to the experience for a couple of reasons.  First, Lysa and Kristy have never really been in a canoe before. Secondly, much of Everglades National Park is based around water so seeing the park from this perspective can enhance our adventure.    

We have much more planned with our trip to southern Florida which I will write about in a later post.  For now, we are excited and looking forward to exploring Everglades National Park and including this location on our monopoly board!