Monday, November 30, 2020

A walk—waist deep!—in the Everglades

Swamp walk. Photo by Patricia Huff

Swamp walk. Photo by Patricia Huff

Yes, it’s summer and it’s hot and muggy. However, the mosquitoes, at least in the Everglades area, seem to be lighter this year so it’s not uncomfortable enjoying our outdoor activities.  One of the most interesting activities I enjoy is walking in the swamp.  If you’re like my sister who was visiting me earlier this year, she questioned why anyone would want to take a walk in the swamp! I tried to explain the beauty of the area and the flora that we would be seeing. Well, after some anxiety, she cautiously walked waist deep into the Fakahatchee swamp and found it an experience of a lifetime.

The Florida Everglades is the largest remaining sub-tropical wilderness in the contiguous United States, unique in the world among wetlands, and it’s in our own backyard. How many times do we take advantage of the sites around us?

Based in Naples and operating in the western Everglades, Swamp Explorers, Inc. offers

Rick Cruz and Julie. Submitted

Rick Cruz and Julie. Submitted

swamp walks, hiking, kayaking, and photo safaris in the Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, and the Ten Thousand Islands. It’s a personal experience of the natural wonder and beauty that is the Everglades.

The owners of the company are also your guides. Famed photographer, Rick Cruz, is a twenty-year veteran of nature photography, specializing in Everglades’ landscapes and has been celebrated for his documentation of rare and endangered orchid species. I have admired his artwork for many years since he first started exhibiting at the Museum of the Everglades and at Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery, where his photographs are on permanent display. He has appeared in four PBS Documentary Specials as well as various books and magazines. Rick’s images can also be viewed online at rickcruzphotography.com. Co-owner Julie Cardenas cultivated her passion for exploring the natural and cultural wonders of the world since childhood. Following a diverse travel career that spanned more than

Kayak Tour. Photo by Patricia Huff

Kayak Tour. Photo by Patricia Huff

twenty years across five continents, she began freelancing as a guide in her native Everglades about five years ago.

It has been said that only by getting wet can one get into the heart of the Everglades.  “Swamp walks are our specialty,” the pair report. “We just got our permit to conduct hiking and photo tours in the Big Cypress National Preserve and we are currently the only tour operator with access to the Loop Road Unit.” There is a cypress dome there that Cardenas describes as “a truly magical, primordial place that captivates the senses.”

For an educational adventure deep into the Everglades, contact Swamp Explorers, Inc. at (239) 961-1151 or swampexplorers@gmail.com. You can also visit their website at www.swampexplorers.com.  10% of the proceeds go to the Friends Group of the park they visit. For more information about the Everglades City area, visit The Mullet Rapper online at www.evergladesmulletrapper.com.

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