On Sunday we were still fighting off colds, but decided a bike ride in the ‘Glades would be good. Last year we ventured to the south parts of the ‘Glades, visiting Loxahatchee and Shark Valley. For this ride, we headed to
Arthur Marshall Nature Preserve, which is the ‘Glades in west Boynton Beach. Being “seniors” now, we have a National Parks pass, so it is free to get in. To our surprise, they’ve really fixed this area up. There are now 90 miles of bike trails. Some are like on the top of canals, and have a gravel surface. Since they are on canals, they are generally straight for miles and level.
The surface is fine for mountain bike tires, though there were spots where it was rough from previous puddles, which had exposed larger chunks of rock. We headed south from the parking lot, and we were going at a leisurely pace, about 5 or 6 mph so that we could see any wildlife. The photo of the road doesn’t show the two white-tailed deer we scared up in this first part of the ride. They just kept ahead of us, showing us their white tails, but when we got close, they jumped into the open water, and swam across to the hammock area west of the canal and roadway.
One side of the trail was a shallow canal and then a woods area with pine and other trees (to the east) and on the other side was a channel and then the expanse of the Everglades. There’s been lots of rain (a record for January) so the cinquefoil and other ground covers were green and blooming.
We saw lots of herons and other water birds as we rode along. It was overcast and not too hot, which is what one wants when riding in the open air at the Everglades. We weren’t and we weren’t disappointed as we saw a medium alligator lying around. Later, as we headed back, the sun was out, and we were feeling kind of over-exposed. We tried riding on one of the grass paths that go through the marshy part of the ‘Glades, and we passed a very big alligator, but as the path was only about 4 feet wide, and his head was taking up about a foot of the trail, we just kept riding.
About 3 miles into the ride, there was quite an aerial display by some small planes. They were doing loop de loops, and lots of stunt flying. The scale was hard to get a bead on. Norm thought they were planes with people in them, but I thought they were models. It turns out we had passed near the West Delray Beach park that is set up for radio-controlled planes, cars, and boats. They were models, but as you see in the picture, it was hard to tell. I think the planes are about 4 feet across their wings. It was fun to watch them.