Arlo and I escaped the dangers of Old Naples for a hike in the swamp that would clear our minds. We drove east to Fakahatchee Strand to celebrate a beautiful fall-like day in Florida on the award-winning boardwalk nature trail.
I assume Arlo realized he had a close call with death and decided to make the most of his second chance. Today was the best day of his life.
The strand probably doesn’t allow dogs, but there was no sign, so we didn’t care. Arlo, who was off leash, charmed everyone we met with his good manners and obedience.
I love this original Florida Royal Palm—there aren’t many left.
I stopped to chat and to teach the other visitors about the wildlife I spotted and shared with them… and I offered to take their pictures, which everyone appreciates. Norma, who was celebrating her seventieth birthday with her daughter was thrilled to have the memories of the special day captured digitally.
The swamp was rather quiet at first glance. However, I spotted a beautiful red-shouldered hawk, a few heron, kingfisher, wood stork, alligator, downy woodpeckers, and too-fast-to-identify warblers. I also had the pleasure of listening to a couple barred owls call to each other, their hoots and responses getting closer and closer and they found each other.
Looking for gators.
I met Ron, a volunteer ranger, who rather than reprimanding me for my schnauzer, was delighted by the enormous bees’ nest, high up in an old cypress tree, I pointed out to him. (You’ve never seen someone so happy by a secret bee discovery.)
Back at the car, we rehydrated and snacked. On the drive out, while smelling the late-afternoon air, my co-pilot got his head stuck in the automatic window. The scaredy-cat rode on my lap the rest of the way to town.