Wednesday, March 6, 2013

of alligators and illness

(Hey! So, predictably, I'm a bit behind on blogging. But today is a "snow" day [more like a day when it was supposed to snow, and the city freaked out and canceled everything only to be totally embarrassed by a boring gray day], so I'm going to try to catch up. A little. First things first, I want to finish blogging about our amazing December roadtrip. This is post 3 out of 4: see the whole thing here)

After our super fabulous extended stay in New Orleans, we drove to the Everglades. And when I say "we," it's really important that you know that I actually mean Ross. I was finishing a paper, and so Ross drove for twelve hours while I typed away in the passenger seat. Obviously, Ross is amazing. Obviously, I'm really fortunate to have such a supportive partner. Now let's never speak of it again. It was a stressful day for both of us. 

After a sleepless (for me) night in Naples, and with my last paper of the term totally and completely done, we drove into the Everglades. One of the nice things about our roadtrip was that we were able to hit a bunch of different travel categories. Austin: Food. New Orleans: Culture. And the Everglades? Behold: nature.  

There were air plants (also known as bromeliads, natch) everywhere.

Just a bald eagle in its massive nest. No big deal.

Our second stop was alligator alley. We were hoping to see some gators in the Everglades, obviously, but we weren't really expecting to. Ahem.

Turns out, the gators in alligator alley are more than used to people. I like to think we maintaining a respectful distance, especially compared to some of the other visitor who were getting awfully close to these incredibly reptiles.

To be fair, it was hard to resist the urge to approach.

We spent the evening camping in the southern end of the park. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures of this, since at this point I was feeling extremely and mysteriously sick. It took me several days to solve the mystery. Turns out, staying up all night staring into a computer screen and eating veggie straws is a really good way to get seriously dehydrated. Whoops. After a day or two, I figured out what was wrong, got some Gatorade, and suddenly felt worlds better. In the meantime, I couldn't shake this fantasy that Ross would have to suddenly pull over the car and I would accidentally puke on a gator. Luckily, this didn't happen.

In spite of my stupidity-based illness, we both loved the Everglades. It's a truly special place, and I, for one, am grateful to the efforts of those who are trying to conserve this incredible ecosystem.

Next up: Key West!

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