Everglades Diary



The Trip Diaries
Until recently, all of the trips that I've taken have been planned as a series of loops, starting either at Chokoloskee Island or Flamingo, and ending at their respective starting points. The logistical problems encountered in arranging for return transportation, and the exhorbitant cost of a commercial shuttle service, had prevented me from making the run I'd always wanted to make along the entire length of the Waterway. Finally, in November and December of 2004, with the help of a close friend I was able to realize my dream of a solo through trip from Chokoloskee to Flamingo that covered 189 mles and took 10 days to complete. The story of that trek is still being written, so until it is completed, here for your reading pleasure is a collection of journals taken from past loop trips that, combined, cover the entire length and breadth of the Everglades Wilderness between Everglades City in the Ten Thousand Islands to the north, and Flamingo on Florida Bay in the south. I hope that these trip diaries will serve not only to entertain, but can also provide some insight for those who would like to make their own Everglades journey.

4 Day Tandem Trip - Sweetwater Loop, 12/21/00 - This was my first Wilderness Waterway trip, and I was accompanied by my son Bryan. We paddled a 4-day loop that led us up the Lopez River and eventually to Sweetwater Chickee, then back to Sunday Bay and our starting point at Chokoloskee. This trip is significant not just because it was my first Everglades canoe expedition, but also because we learned a great deal on how not to plan a multiday canoe camping trip. Suffice it to say that this was a major learning experience! Unfortunately, I had no camera on this trip, hence no pictures or slideshow.
Journal

5 Day Solo Trip - Chatham River Loop, 1/24/01 - My second expedition was a solo trip which would take me down the Gulf coast, then back up the Chatham River where I would follow the Waterway trail for the final leg of the journey. This trip could have been easily accomplished in a three day period, but my purpose was to relax and enjoy a slow, leisurely trip with no time pressures.
Journal
Slideshow

7 Day Solo Trip - Lostman's River Loop, 3/24/01 - My son was originally slated to accompany me this trip, but last-minute circumstances prevented him from going, so this became an unintentional solo expedition. This trip started with several long paddling days followed by a series of short runs that allowed time to explore the creeks and other waterways that I passed along the way. The loop took me down the Gulf coast to Lostman's River, then back up the "inside" for the return trip.
Journal
Slideshow

5 Day Solo Trip - Cape Sable Loop, 11/22/01 - This was my first experience in travelling the southern portion of the Waterway. The trip started in Flamingo and took me north up the Joe River, then made a loop around the top of Cape Sable, and then back down the Gulf coast to Florida Bay. I had hoped to travel in the opposite direction, but several of the campsites that were necessary for this plan were already booked and I was forced to make the counterclockwise run around the Cape, something I try to avoid because of the prevailing easterlies on Florida Bay. As a result, the last 6 miles from Clubhouse Beach to Flamingo were a struggle against an unrelenting 20 knot headwind.
Journal
Slideshow

8 Day Tandem Trip - Camp Lonesome Loop, 1/24/02 - My son Bryan was finally able to accompany me on what was to be his second Everglades trip, and my fourth in just over a year. The trek turned out to be a combination of the best and the worst that the Everglades has to offer. Warm and windy weather, long portages through knee-deep mud at low tide, and an arduous struggle through a jungle of snags and overhangs were combined with some of the best ground and beach camping that I've experienced so far in the Everglades. The trip took us south along the Gulf coast to the Broad River, and from there we made our way up the Wood River to Camp Lonesome. We then took the inside route back north to the Watson Place in a series of short hops, followed by a straight 15 mile run back in to Chokoloskee.
Journal
Slideshow

10 Day Solo Through Trip - Chokoloskee to Flamingo, 11/25/04 - This was the trip I had dreamed of for so long - a through trip from Chokoloskee to Flamingo that would take me from the Gulf Coast islands to the remote freshwater Glades at the terminus of the Shark River Slough, known better as the great River of Grass. The convoluted route wound and twisted and turned it's way along 189 miles of the best paddling and camping that the Everglades has to offer. The story of this journey is still being written and is being published a day at a time, along with many photos, some of them of places seldom seen by the average Wilderness Waterway paddler. Stay tuned!
Journal

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