Nine Mile Pond: vultures and cat vomit
December 26, 2011 12 Comments
Day 1 in Everglades National Park.
On a totally unrelated side note, should you find yourself at Flamingo and in need of something to eat, do NOT dine at the Buttonwood Cafe in the visitor’s center unless you like terrible food served at a glacially-slow pace at astronomical prices. Instead, go to the marina shop and gorge on overpriced frozen candy bars. Nothing is more delicious or nutritious than a frozen Snickers washed down with a diet Red Bull for breakfast. I do so hope to grace the cover of a cereal box someday, but I think I should lobby Red Bull to make room for my face on their can:
We decided to kayak Nine Mile Pond, which is actually not nine miles long or a pond, but more like just shy of six miles of trail through a series of ponds, mangroves and open sawgrass prairies. The parking area is populated by vultures. These vultures want to destroy your car. Seriously. They are addicted to rubber and will strip your car in no time if you don’t take precautions. I tried to take a picture of a Japanese tourist taking a picture of a car being attacked by vultures, but Troy wouldn’t let me. Probably because he had deduced the vultures wanted to eat that car and not ours. Even so, we diligently wrapped windshield wipers and kayak cradles in towels to keep the damned vultures at bay.
Everyone (not native to Southern Florida) has an idea of what they think the Everglades looks like. The terrain varies based on elevation, but at the farthest southern portions, you can expect a lot of wet sawgrass for miles and mangrove stands.
We got into the water and headed across the first pond to the mangroves. The trail is marked by numbered PVC pipes which is a good thing because pretty much everything looks exactly the same. This area has crocs and alligators, although we saw neither this time.
The middle portion of the trail is pretty much mangrove islands and sawgrass areas where the alligators and crocodiles like to lounge. Alas, no reptiles to speak of.
The portion of the trail furthest from the starting point is riddled with some type of reed that made the paddling exceedingly tedious. Each stroke would bring up rotted wet cattails to slap you in the face. The water here is no more than one foot deep.
Close up, they greatly resemble cat vomit. It is noteworthy that I managed to get three of these things down the front of my shirt while paddling. Cat vomit in the cleavage.
Troy realized after we made the turn back that we managed to miss poles 60-79. If it was more of this, I can’t say I’m too sorry. Paddling through stagnant cat vomit loses its charm rapidly when you are already expending energy fighting the wind and shallow water.
If you are in Everglades National Park, the Nine Mile Pond trail falls on the must-do list. Overall, Troy and I managed to do it with a minimum of strife, no capsizing and it was a nice paddle. Personal pain rating: 5 out of 10, for cat vomit in the cleavage and a blister on the right hand.
Sawgrass and mangroves
Wind sings across the water
Cat vomit in hair