LET THE ADVENTURE UNFOLD: Phoenix Kids Travel to Study

Imagine herding cats at the bike livery in Shark Valley as we all searched for bikes that fit us best. Once paired with one that matched our size, we were off to learn the finer points of riding and stopping an old-fashioned bike. We had to get used to “definitely weird” handlebars according to the kids, no gears, and only foot brakes.  Finally, we were off along the canal, heading to the observation tower 7 miles away.  Next stop, animal or bird sighting…and there were many!  

Lazy alligators lead the list with at least 62 according to Fiona, our official alligator counter.  One even crosses the road in front of us. Frisky striped gator babies entertain us, but we keep our distance since Mama is near. Most of us hope to see a big-footed purple gallinule and we do.  Its giant feet are like tropical snowshoes for walking on carpets of splatter dock that cover the water. 

Today we see birds, so many more than on all other days combined; anhingas drying their wings, great blue herons fishing, little blue herons in shallower water, egrets, ibises, and huge flocks of birds flying overhead. Our special treat today is a turtle alongside the path, laying her eggs.

To be expected there were a few minor “crashes’” as we practiced our control in mile 1.  By mile 2 we were much more proficient and able to keep watch for birds, critters, and tree islands dotted throughout the prairie of sawgrass.

Riding 15 miles is hot and thirsty work, so we are delighted to be sprinkled on and then drenched for a brief period along the way. What a refreshing way to cool off. It’s perfect we agree.

Tonight, thinking back on our time in the Everglades, we each pick our high point; maybe something we will always remember, something of which we are proud, a challenge we have overcome.

Charlie: bike ride… I got to know a lot more about Kyle and Max because we were together at the end.

Alice; canoeing…it was physical like I like, a new experience and a good challenge through a unique landscape.

Arlo:15 mile bike ride…I talked with others and my partner, there was lots of wildlife, and, since it was flat, not too tiring.

Karina D: slough slog… I was engaged because I like to see the animals, birds, and trees.

Karina PZ: the end of the bike ride because I felt proud and accomplished …15 miles is the most I ever did.

Max: canoeing because seeing alligators & anhingas was pretty fun.

Aiden: bike ride because I could use more strength and go fast, and I saw lots of alligators. I’m proud of myself.

Eziah: canoeing … I got to canoe for the first time and learned how to use a paddle, and make different strokes work. It was fun.

Liam: canoeing…  I’ve never done it before. Getting the hang of it quickly was very satisfying.

Fiona: canoeing… Kyle let me be captain because I was really good at paddling and steering.

What a great way to end a remarkable trip!