“Slough Slog,” a Wet Hike in Everglades National Park, Florida
As I greet visitors before a “Slough Slog,” I can sense a mix of excitement and apprehension. After all, chances are good that none of them has ever been on an adventure quite like the one we’re about to experience in Everglades National Park.
We assemble, wearing our hats, long pants and laced-up shoes – each of us holding a hiking stick.
As we step into the water, small fish skitter out of the way and a Great Blue Heron, perched on a tree, keeps a vigilant eye on us. The uneven terrain forces us to move slowly as we wade through the shallow water. This is a good opportunity to pay attention to small flowers that float around us.
Little by little, we make our way into the cypress dome and sense the peace that is here. We look up and see blue sky between tree branches. Around us, bromeliads display their most beautiful red blooms. A small bird flies away as we approach. The water, above our knees, is transparent, moving slowly, carrying life to every atom in the Everglades.
There is no more excitement, no more apprehension, just a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to be standing here.
Editor’s note: Slough slogs are scheduled, weather dependent, several times a week from December through April and reservations are required. For more information, call 305-242-7700 or visit them online at www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/sloughslog.htm
– Maria Thomson
Maria Thomson has been a park ranger in Everglades National Park for the past 15 years. She is passionate about sharing the subtle beauty that makes the Everglades so unique.