Exploring the Slough and Sawgrass Prairies
of Shark Valley.
(tap or click pic to read)
Pedal and Paddle at Shark Valley: The kayak and the wheel, a symbiotic relationship.
Kayaking at Shark Valley – A visit to Seagrape Hammock, aka Willoughby Key!
The lunatics are on the Grass,
Got to keep those loonies off the trail!
Everglades exploration and photography in the style of the classic 1898 book “Across the Everglades“, by Hugh L. Willoughby.
This is a story of a “pedal and paddle” visit to a small tree island hammock in the Everglades “River of Grass”. We used bicycles, a trailer and a tandem SOT kayak to ride down the tram road and paddle through the grass to the island. The Shark Valley tower happens to be only a short distance from this tree island called “Seagrape Hammock” in the middle of the Shark River Slough. Hugh L. Willoughby wrote about the island in his classic 1898 book – “Across the Everglades” and dubbed it “Willoughby Key”. He kept excellent records and published the accurate coordinates in his book, so we know for a fact that it is Seagrape Hammock.
He actually liked this island so much that he camped there twice!
Why go to Seagrape Hammock? Well there’s the historical connection already mentioned that gives us a window into the Everglades of old circa 1898. At that time, the Everglades were largely still untouched and pristine. The Seminole Native Americans were still able to live a largely traditional subsistence way of life. The Everglades were clean, bountiful and unfettered. However within a generation afterwards, the irreversible system wide alterations and damage to the Everglades ecosystem would begin. So Willoughby’s descriptions are among the last of the real Everglades as they had existed for millennia prior!
I had been fascinated with this tree island ever since sighting it during a trip down the Shark River slough in 2012. But on that trip we passed close within a mile, although couldn’t take the time for the detour. On this trip we succeeded and I had plenty of time to explore and photograph the Seagrape Hammock tree island!
Geographically, Seagrape Hammock is situated roughly halfway in between the Cypress strands of Big Cypress to the west and the higher (now developed) Pineland ridge to the east.
! Bless UP
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With that said..