At the observation tower we regularly see many birds and alligators, but while there are some deer in the area, sighting one is a rare thing. I did see one at the lake near our RV site once but on Jan. 27 I spotted one while doing roving interpretation work out at the tower! It was the first reported in that area since the first of the year.
He was a long way out but I think it made a pretty good picture even so.
On Sunday evening, Jan. 18 there was a very exciting event! Pam & I were sitting out side of the visitor center waiting for time for my evening alligator walk, when a girl of 12 was approaching on her bike at a speed that was a bit excessive for the crowded walking/biking area where she was. A small child pulled a little bike directly into the path of the young girl, causing the girl to lock the brake and loose control of her bicycle. When she swerved off of the paved path she screamed as she was heading directly toward an alligator of about 9 feet in length! I immediately began to run in the direction of the impending accident.
The alligator headed for the water and safety, but not quickly enough as the girl's bike hit the gator's tail about midway up the tail as the gator retreated. In it's rush to swim away the tail threw water, the bike and girl splashed into the water and for a few seconds I lost track of the entire event. Once at the scene, I found the girl wet but uninjured, the mother present and in panic and the gater long gone and probably far more frightened than either the girl or her mom! Today the girl and her mother have both recovered and the alligoator is fearful, but may eventurally return to his favorite spot. All is well that ends well!
Somehow we seem to have lost several pages in some housekeeping work so I will try and recreate them.
About Jan. 21 I posted some pictures of Pam as we visted the post office from which our mail comes. It is the smallest USPS building in the country.
This office is about 25 miles to our west in the direction of Naples and along US41.
This work week has ended and what a week it has been! Who would believe the kinds of things that rangers have to tell about what visitors do to the wild animals in our national parks? As of this week I will believe pretty much anything that a ranger tells me. I personally stopped five different people from attempting to touch an alligator, one from throwing rocks at them, one was poking one with a stick and too many to count who wanted to get closer for a picture!
Most memorable of all was the mother of a girl about seven and boy two or three years younger, who was trying to get her children to go and touch the alligator (one about 10' long) so that she could take their picture while they did so. When I shouted from some distance to get the children back, the enraged mother verbally attacked me to the point that I had to threaten to call a Law Enforcement officer and have her removed from the park in order to get her to back off. Her statement was "Now you have made my children too afraid of the alligators for me to get any good pictures!" i sure do hope that I succeeded in that.
Yesterday we drove over to the Chekika Area to visit friends from previous work locations who are also now at Chekika with our frineds the Hagens. There are now three couples volunteering at that location and all are members of Escapees!
Attending the meeting were Ray & Carol Holland, Virgil & Carol Plymale, Pam & Kirk Wood and hosts Larry & Sharon Hagen. A great time was had by all. The only business was a decision to attempt to locate all volunteers who are members of Escapees and hold some gathering over then next month or so.
Spent most of the day on gator patrol today. Have to protect the residents of the park from the pushy visitors that sometimes get too close, or who try to get them to do something!
After a busy day at Shark Valley, we had a beautiful sunset over the lake here in Trail Center. I took this while thaking Muffie for her evening walk. That is the price that we must pay for having left her at home alone, all day. She is really a very good dog for our lifestyle.
We spent the afternoon exploring a little of the Miami area. We drove down to the waterfront and then north along the beach road, nearly to Ft. Lauderdale. It was a beautiful day for a drive! There was some pretty nice scenery along the water too! New Year's even and temperatures in the mid seventies!