Normally on trips, I use my camera to document as many experiences as possible. Part of the joy for me is in the photography itself, not to mention that it's nice to be able to look back on the trip in a tangible way sometimes. In the Everglades, I didn't even take out my camera until the second day on the water, and then only for a couple of pictures. By the third morning, I woke up relaxed and refreshed (finally, I might add) and immediately set to work using my camera.
The morning quickly turned stormy as a powerful cold front, responsible for a major tornado outbreak in the Tennessee and Ohio valleys a couple of days earlier, was bearing down on south Florida. The good news? The wind would finally be at our backs, making paddling a joy instead of a painful chore. The bad news? Storms were forecasted. Thankfully, one storm cell went to our east, and another skirted off to the west, but we only received a five minute shower with occasional sprinkles the rest of the day.
Arriving at our home for the next two nights, a campsite called Lostmans Five, we set about drying wet gear from the morning rains. After quickly pitching my tent, I grabbed the camera to document our camp and everyone else still putting up tents and organizing gear.
Lostmans Five is a great little campsite that picks up any west or northwest breeze off of Lostmans Five bay. The campsite is a ground site, but a raised wooden platform covers the camping area since the low ground is prone to being muddy. An outhouse is perched on the end of the small dock, leaving one to wonder what happens when a hurricane comes through. Thankfully it wasn't hurricane season so we felt relatively safe using the facilities.
Sitting on the end of the dock, I drank in the scenery. Occasionally birds would fly by across the bay and the water itself was mesmerizing. I could watch the gentle waves for hours, although exploring sounded pretty good as well.
That evening, we paddled up Lostmans Creek a few hundred yards and then drifted back down with the tidal current. I had brought the fly rod along and fishing the current felt just like drifting down a tailwater throwing streamers for trout. Ladyfish were very prevalent in this wild 'Glades stream and finally, right around a point in a textbook ambush spot, I found another snook. This one was a little nicer than my first...
Catherine McGrath Photograph
A beautiful sunset lit up the sky. The clouds had long since cleared out as the front was now well south of the area. We fixed something to eat, and appreciated the relative absence of mosquitoes from the area. Finally we all went to bed, thinking about paddling east into the wild Everglades the next morning.