3 Days in Big Cypress National Preserve

About Big Cypress National Preserve

The Everglades encompass 4,000 square miles of Central and South Florida.  When a jetport was proposed to be built in the heart of them during the late 1960’s, conservationists, sportsmen, environmentalists, as well as the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian tribes fought to save the area.  As a result, the Big Cypress National Preserve was established in 1974.

Big Cypress was the first ever national preserve.  It was established in a compromise as advocates wanted to save the swamp but didn’t want it to be managed in as a restrictive manner as the National Parks.  Consequently, the preserve was formed to allow less restrictive activities such as hunting and to let Indian tribes keep their private land.

The Preserve is 729,000 acres, larger than Rhode Island.  It protects a freshwater swamp ecosystem which provides the largest intact acreage of habitat for the panthers of South Florida.  It hosts more than one million visitors a year, though I feel like most visitors to the Everglades spend their time on the 38-mile scenic drive in Everglades National Park. 

EXPLORE MORE!

Ways to Tour the Swamp in the Everglades

The Everglades is a subtropical wetland which makes up 4,000 square miles of Central and Southern Florida.  During the rainy season, Lake Okeechobee overflows, creating a shallow river through the sawgrass.

The river flows south through cypress swamps, wet prairie, and mangroves until it reaches Everglades National Park and the Florida Bay. 

While development has interfered with the ecosystem, there is still a diverse selection of wildlife including panthers, bears, alligators, crocodiles, snakes, manatees, and many species of plants and birds. 

Most visitors to the area follow the 38-mile scenic drive from Ernest F Coe Visitor Center near Miami to the Flamingo Visitor center in the southernmost portion of the park.  This area features many boardwalks, picnic areas, and canoe and kayak trails.  Ten years ago, I spent a day here.  After seeing all the wildlife, I wished to return.

TOUR THE SWAMP
Katmai National Park and Preserve

Travel Photo Challenge Day 3

I’ve been nominated by some fellow bloggers, Tony and Margie with Back Roads and Other Stories as well as Jyothi with Travel Explore Enjoy, to post one favorite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate.  That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations.  It is my understanding that the idea behind the challenge is to expose audiences to new bloggers and vice versa.  I’m always up for helping fellow bloggers, so I have accepted the challenge. 

That said, my rule following self is going to follow Tony and Margie’s lead and break a handful of them.  First, while a picture paints a 1,000 words, I’m incapable of posting a photo without some explanation.  Sometimes the story makes the image that much more special.  Second, though not specified, I think the intent is to post 10 days in a row.  I’ll be lucky if I post 10 weeks in a row.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

Travel Photo Challenge Day 2

I’ve been nominated by some fellow bloggers, Tony and Margie with Back Roads and Other Stories as well as Jyothi with Travel Explore Enjoy, to post one favorite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate.  That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations.  It is my understanding that the idea behind the challenge is to expose audiences to new bloggers and vice versa.  I’m always up for helping fellow bloggers, so I have accepted the challenge. 

That said, my rule following self is going to follow Tony and Margie’s lead and break a handful of them.  First, while a picture paints a 1,000 words, I’m incapable of posting a photo without some explanation.  Sometimes the story makes the image that much more special.  Second, though not specified, I think the intent is to post 10 days in a row.  I’ll be lucky if I post 10 weeks in a row.  Finally, I sometimes might post a series of photos.

Mongolia

I’m finally getting to Travel Photo Challenge Day 2.  Today I’m including a series of photos taken in Mongolia, a trip I would have never taken if it weren’t for my friend Page who invited me.  I almost still didn’t go because I already had many trips planned for the year and the best time to visit Mongolia is during Naadam in July when I stay home to hike in Colorado.  After all, I suffer through the winter in order to enjoy the summer and fall in CO.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!
view of boats through Trojan Horse in Canakkale

Canakkale, Turkey

During my two-week tour around Turkey with G-Adventures, our final night’s stay was in Canakkale.  Canakkale is a seaport on the southern coast of the Dardanelles with a population of nearly 200,000.  It is a good base for those wishing to visit Troy and Gallipoli.

GO VISIT!
pots at basilica of st john in selcuk

Selçuk…The Site of Ephesus

As part of my two-week tour of Turkey with G Adventures, a budget National Geographic company, we stayed in Selçuk for two nights.  Sadly, I knew nothing of Selçuk or of its many attractions.  For that matter, I didn’t know much about Turkey except that people enjoy it, so I wanted to go.

Selçuk is a very popular tourist destination.  During the shoulder season at the start of COVID, however, the city was rather quiet, which I enjoyed!  While Selçuk features a variety of restaurants and shops on lovely streets and a smattering of ruins on the hill above town, it is best known for its proximity to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With all the attractions, Selçuk definitely warrants an overnight stay or perhaps even a weekend get-away.  Below is a list of things to do while in Selçuk.

EXPLORE!
Pamukkale

Turkey: Pamukkale and Heiropolis

I actually signed up for this G-Adventures tour, a budget National Geographic company, specifically because the itinerary included Pamukkale.  Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which features natural travertine terraces of thermal pools.  I saw a picture of the famous site in a National Geographic magazine at least 10 years ago and have wanted to visit ever since.

Take a Soak!

The Sunken City of Kekova

A long time ago, I read an article about SCUBA diving in underwater, ancient ruins near Istanbul.  I thought that would be cool to do, so it has stayed with me for years.  Having said that, during my six week trip to the Middle East which included Oman, Israel, and Turkey, SCUBA Diving didn’t make the list.

Instead, I signed up for a two-week tour through the western half of Turkey with G-Adventures, a budget-minded National Geographic Company.  Having completed little research and being rather dependent on the tour company, I was surprised to learn that there were underwater ruins in Kekova, one of the destinations on our travels.

SAIL AWAY!
dog in antalya

All About Antalya

History of Antalya

Antalya was originally founded by King Attalus II of Pergamon around 150 BC and was called Attalia for the King.  It soon became part of the Roman Empire and prospered until the fall of Constantinople.  The Seljuk Turks captured the city in 1207 which fell to the Ottomans in the mid 1300’s. 

It remained under Ottoman control until World War I when the city was briefly given to Italy before the Turkish Republic recaptured Antalya during the War of Independence.

RELAX!