Chief Chekika’s not so secret island hideaway in the Everglades!

A nearly forgotten place,

yet an important piece of Florida history.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Chekika Island one mile away from the L-67 extension levee south of Tamiami Trail with FWC chopper on patrol!
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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 Contemporary Everglades exploration series:

“Chekika Island”

Chekika Island is a hardwood tree hammock located in the eastern Everglades, inside Everglades National Park. It’s one of dozens of similar tree islands in the Shark River slough, otherwise known as the ‘River of Grass’. What makes this island interesting is the story of it’s name sake – Chief Chekika and his impact on Florida history.

This island hammock is not to be confused with the (now closed) Chekika Day Use Area which was better known as Grossman Hammock and later as the Chekika State Recreation Area. Chekika Island (proper) is further northwest and only a mile south of the Tamiami Trail and about a mile east of the L-67 extension canal/levee. It’s clearly marked on maps and Google Earth. Thousands of daily motorists unknowingly drive right past it on their way to or from the west coast. It is positioned on the western edge of the slough, between Shark Valley and the new “Everglades Skyway” bridge over the slough.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe east everglades tree hammock satellite Harney 1840 Indian Key

Satellite view of Chekika Island in relation to the eastern Everglades and Shark Valley.

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Chief Chekika was a fierce Seminole warrior who led an infamous raid on Indian Key on August 7, 1840 during the Second Seminole War. Infamous, because it was a huge embarrassment to the US Navy, which actually maintained a depot only a mile away from Indian Key. Infamous because Chekika’s band carried away tons of loot and supplies. Infamous because the raid resulted in the death of Dr. Henry Perrine among others, and ultimately also of Chekika himself at the hands of Lt Col. William Harney of the US Army.

The map below dates to 1839 and shows South Florida at the time of Chekika’s raid. His base was hidden deep in the Everglades of which virtually nothing was known at the time. About the only thing actually shown on the map is a line drawn across the Everglades with the inscription:

“Passable for small boats as reported by the Indians”.

The only other thing shown is that the Shark River flowed out of the wet interior ‘Glades. Thus if one could make it across the River of Grass, an eventual exit into the Gulf of Mexico was a reasonably sure proposition. It’s likely that Chekika’s band was spread out over several tree islands, with connections throughout the ‘Glades and out to open waters. However only one island bears Chekika’s name!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades south florida 1839 Taylor map

FCIT University of South Florida, section of Taylor map, 1839.
“Passable for small boats as reported by the Indians”
Map courtesy FCIT: http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps

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After Harney’s successful military expedition across the Everglades, much more detailed maps were made. One of the outlets into the Gulf was even named after him, the Harney River. The map below from 1856 clearly shows Chekika Island, among others, and the possible paths across and down the Shark River slough and into the Gulf of Mexico. It is known from historical records that Chekika and his men paddled and sailed down the slough into Whitewater Bay, coming out into Florida Bay via Halbatahatchee River, probably near present day Flamingo. They then crossed the ‘Bay to reach Indian Key.

Today a kayaker can paddle roughly the same route in about the same amount of time – six days or less:

Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition

and

Across Florida Bay: Flamingo to Long Key Roundtrip Adventure!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades hammock 1856 map Harney 1840 Indian Key FCIT University of South Florida

FCIT University of South Florida, map section showing Chekika Island, 1856.
Click HERE for zoomable super HiRes version!
Map courtesy FCIT: http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps

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There is limited historical information about Chief Chekika, but he was said to be a man of great stature at over 6ft tall and 200lbs plus. He was a leader in his people’s struggle against the US Government’s genocidal policies, generally referred to as the Second Seminole War. This war was a direct result of a very dark chapter in American History called the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the ensuing Trail of Tears. It’s because of this that dislocated native peoples were driven deeper down into Florida and eventually the Everglades. The systematic destruction of native culture, removal and outright genocide was official government policy. Sadly this grave injustice has yet to addressed by our government nearly 200 years later!

Mother, should I trust the Government?

The earliest reference to Chekika is from July 23, 1839 when he led a successful raid on the Caloosahatchee Trading Post in which Lt col. Harney barely escaped with his life. It would appear that Harney then held a personal grudge against Chekika, and the events that unfolded next played right into this. Chekika’s plan was to raid the large stockpiles of salvage and other supplies stored in warehouses on Indian Key. These were owned and maintained by Captain Jacob Housman, who owned most the of island. On August 7, 1840 Chekika and his band of 60-130 warriors attacked and raided the Key in what is sometimes called the Indian Key Massacre. Upwards of 18 people were killed by the time mayhem was over including Dr. Perrine and the whole town was burned. Chekika’s band left Indian Key with 28 canoes and six of Houseman’s boats filled with all the loot. They sailed and paddled the 90 odd miles back to their base at Chekika Island hidden inside the endless Everglades.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock satellite Harney 1840 Indian Key

Chekika Island and Indian Key are forever linked by the raid of 1840. Chekika and his men had to sail and paddle about 90 miles each way which took several days.

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Because his camp was deep inside the Everglades interior where no white man was able to venture without native guides, Chekika was confident that he would be safe. In response to the raid, Harney assembled a sort of special-ops team at Fort Dallas which is today’s downtown Miami. He commissioned native canoes and clothing to achieve some measure of stealth. Starting at the mouth of the Miami River, he was guided into the Everglades by a runaway slave who was reportedly held captive by the natives and had some knowledge of the region. History records that on December 10, 1840, Harney “surprised” Chekika  at his home hammock base in the Everglades. I use quotes because as we all know, history is written by the victors. As a paddler, some of the facts seem questionable. Paddling through sawgrass makes lots of noise, walking is difficult and makes even more noise. Water levels would already be dropping in December of any year, and the Everglades is (or was) a very quiet place. So to achieve a level of total surprise in this difficult and unconventional terrain would be difficult to say the least. It is my opinion only, but I’d say that it’s entirely possible that since Harney had 90 men, he may have just gone island to island, flushing out and interrogating any captives until he got to Chekika. Realizing that the natives were likely spread out over several tree islands, he could have just overpowered them, island by island! Again this is my opinion only, as Harney’s official account is the only one we can factually go by.

Regardless of how it really happened, Harney is said to have captured 32 “Indians” including Chekika’s wife, sister and other tribe members for internment and later relocation. Chekika was reportedly shot, then scalped and his body left to hang on the island along with two other warriors. This act was seen as a war atrocity and it is said that Miccosukee don’t visit this tree island anymore since then. They call this island “Hanging People” or “Yatcasaski” in the Mikasuki language.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

The unusually wet winter/spring of 2016 caused extreme measures to be taken. These extra relief pumps helped reduce water levels upstream in WCA3 and Lake Okeechobee.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Grass paddling means always checking water levels in the Glades. This gauge is in the deeper Tamiami Canal. Actual levels in the slough were much lower, but it is an indicator nonetheless. I knew there would be plenty of water for paddling!

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Shark River Slough Everglades expedition camping River of Grass kayakfari Flex Maslan sawgrass marshall foundation aerial L67 levee canal 67 us41 birdseye view

I launched at the turnoff on the L-67 ext levee/canal. This aerial view is from a previous trip down the Shark River slough.
Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition.
CLICK for story!

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I undertook this little adventure-kayak-photography trip because I feel that the story of Chekika, Indian Key and Florida’s Everglades can be said to be the common heritage of all of us who visit Everglades National Park today. I feel it should be remembered and that it still has relevance even in our busy modern lives! I also wanted to see it to document it and to get a feel for what it’s like to be there today. To start, I launched my kayak nearby into the L67 extension canal.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Paddling due south the L-67 ext canal. Not much to talk about .. it’s just a canal.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Portage/pullover over the L-67 ext levee. Note the bright 6 foot pole and flag!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

On top of the L-67 levee about a mile south of Tamiami Trail.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Going in! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Eastbound in the slough. The grass is only a couple of feet tall and the water about a foot deep.

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Unlike many other parts of the Everglades, this area is not very quiet at all. There are low flying airplanes overhead and a punctuated but nearly constant drone of airboats in distance. The sawgrass also makes a lot of noise as it scrapes against the kayak hull.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Gloves are a must when grass paddling – sawgrass blades are sharp!

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This section of Everglades National Park is known as the East Everglades Expansion Area (EEEA). It was acquired in 1989 by passage of the Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act which added nearly 110 000 acres to the original size of the Park. Prior to this, the area was mostly used by hunters, froggers, airboaters and ORV operators. It’s sometimes also called the “Rocky Glades”, because there’s limestone rock under the muck. Many of the tree islands, including Chekika Island had hunting camps on them for decades. Some of these still exist in a more or less derelict state, since they are no longer allowed to be maintained. The EEEA is actually the only part of the Park where existing commercial and private airboating is still allowed. Unfortunately the Park has recently ruled that no new airboat permits will be issued. I say unfortunately because it is the airboats that keep existing trails cleared. Once the airboats stop running, trails become overgrown and difficult if not impossible for even kayaks and canoes to get through!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Trash is a problem anywhere there are people around and unfortunately the eastern Everglades is no exception!
CLICK for story!

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So going forward means that only paddlers and in some cases hikers will be able to access this entire area. This also means that access point(s) to the slough need to be (re) established. Luckily existing old airboat ramps, such as the one at Frog City would be ideal for this. All that’s really needed is to clear out the parking area that’s already there and presto – instant access to Shark River slough!

See:

Grass Paddling in the East Everglades Expansion Area – History, Gladesmen & more Grass!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

I came upon three or four old warped wood platforms. They’re small, only about 2 x 8 feet, but a welcome surprise for a kayaker!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Small narrow platform is just a few hundred feet from Chekika’s Island. Not sure what these are, maybe left overs from a research program?

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Platform made a great place to setup my aerial photography pole rig! 🙂
CLICK for story: A Kayak Aerial Photography Method.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Result from above: Dragonfly aerial view of Chekika Island hammock in the Everglades.
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Final approach to Chekika Island!
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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From research I determined to try for an opening into the interior on the northwest side of the island. When I pulled up to where I thought looked pretty good, I stood up and saw a blue ribbon marker in front of me. How fortuitous, I thought! However the main entrance looks to have been on the east side where a channel was cleared into the interior. Today this is overgrown.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock satellite Harney 1840 Indian Key L-67

Chekika Island is close to Tamiami Trail and L-67. You can see this is airboat country – mostly the big tourist airboats. I decided to stay clear on the western part of the island.

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Because this section of Everglades National Park allows limited airboat use it’s important to be seen which is why I had an orange flag on a six foot yellow mast! The other reason to fly a flag is because kayaks and canoes disappear quickly into the grass once you exit the boat. More about this later!

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East Everglades Grass kayakfari canoe paddle Expansion Area airboat camp addition lands kayak Flex Maslan

The East Everglades (EEEA) has been airboat country decades. Note the flag – it’s important to be seen, as the operator hears nothing!
CLICK for story!

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Very scarce information exists about Chekika Island itself. The one printed reference is by Randy Wayne White in his 1991 book Batfishing in the Rainforest: Strange Tales of Travel and Fishing. He describes hiking out to the island with the late great author Peter Matthiessen in search of a swamp ape! They enter and find a hunting camp with a tire swing called “Ellis Hammock” at which point an airboat pulls up with a couple of hunters and their dogs. The two authors weren’t quite sure where they were, this was in the era before gps and Google Earth afterall. One of the men, John Ellis built the camp probably sometime in the 1970’s or early 1980’s. Back then, this was just swampland and sportsmen setup squat camps on many of the hammock islands. I was able to find some local information to find out that John had lost part of one arm trying to prop start an airboat once and was from Hialeah. This didn’t stop him from building the camp however, and he also built custom airboats, hot rods and racing cars. In any case, John showed the two authors around the island and confirmed that his hammock was indeed Chekika’s Island. He also said that the tree that Chekika was hung from was struck down by lightning many years ago in a big storm. The two authors never found any evidence of any swamp apes there!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock satellite Harney 1840 Indian Key L-67

The main entry into Chekika hammock was on the east side, where it looks like a channel existed. It’s likely that the hunters who built the camp there in the 20th century simply improved upon an existing access lead used by native peoples for centuries before that.

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Going forward, it appears that the camp on Chekika Island changed hands a couple of times but eventually burned down. Plans to rebuild were thwarted when the Park acquired this land and kicked out all the hunters over time. Since then, this island has been vacant, save for periodic visits by university research teams up to present day. I wasn’t quiet sure what to expect or what to find when I entered the hammock in the spring of 2016.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Entry into Chekika Island hammock at last! This is actually on the northwest side. I instinctively positioned myself at ‘an entrance’. Only later did I notice it was already marked with a series of ribbons. I bet these were placed to guide research teams into the interior!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Gorgeous lush and wet pond-trench along the perimeter of the higher interior of Chekika Island.
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari awakenthegrass kayak shark valley everglades paddling tree hammock seagrape sawgrass willoughby key 1898

Not surprisingly, the interior looks a lot like that of other tree island hammocks. This beautiful and welcoming scene is from nearby Seagrape Hammock – aka ‘Willoughby Key’.
CLICK for story: Kayaking at Shark Valley!

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Tree island hammocks in the Everglades are all very similar, especially those that are close to their natural state and not manicured too much. There is always a deeper side, usually on the north side facing the slow but constant flow of the slough waters. This creates a partial perimeter trench or pond that acts as a transition from the grassy slough to the dry interior. It’s a lush, very beautiful place, not unlike a wet cypress dome! There are no cypress trees on Chekika, but a few more steps onto higher ground reveal the tall strand of Mahogany trees along with some Gumbo-limbo and typical Strangler figs for the most part.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

At Chekika Island – finally on terra firma! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

The earth beneath my feet at Chekika Island.

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Enjoy these spectacular fisheye views from the interior of Chekika Island!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Lush ferns cover much of the periphery ground on Chekika Island.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

The highest and driest middle of the hammock island is where the tall Mahogany grove stands!

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There are some pretty large trees on Chekika Island, but they’re not quite mature yet judging by the bark. I’d say these Mahogany’s date back at least 50 years, maybe a little more. Hurricane Donna destroyed much back in 1960, so these could be the youngin’ survivors maybe? We’ve had several big hurricanes since that time and there were many downed trees all over. In any case, the tall trees are what gives Chekika Island it’s distinct profile when seen from a distance!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

The tallest trees on Chekika are the many fine Mahogany specimens. My guess is that in this grove are the survivors of Hurricane Donna from back in 1960.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

This tree stand could be a left over from the hunting camp era or more recent scientific research?

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

An omni-rama straight up into the tall tree canopy of Chekika Island.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Some trees are still trying to stand up.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Storms and lightning strikes take their toll on tree islands, but sometimes lead to interesting growth formations.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Trees reaching for the sky on Chekika Island!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

On dry ground at Chekika Island, spring of 2016.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Some kind of a switch box in the middle of the hammock for gathering scientific data. There are a lot of wires running in all directions, but I didn’t touch any of it.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Dry interior “clearing” on Chekika Island with mostly Mahogany and some Gumbo-limbo trees. Note the old scientific equipment!
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

One of the tallest Mahogany trees on Chekika Island standing today.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Mahogany trees are pretty substantial on Chekika Island.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Lookin’ up a tall Mahogany!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Tag on a Mahogany tree on Chekika Island.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Near the southern end of the dry interior of Chekika Island. Is this where the hunting camp once stood?
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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The hammock interior is actually a very pleasant, shaded space. There weren’t too many bugs at all and I could see camping or living here was first rate as far as Everglades accommodations go! For the record, I didn’t see any snakes, pythons or gators, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. I did make a bunch of noise walking around, I didn’t want to surprise anything!

Before heading back out, I took a moment of pause contemplating on Chief Chekika and his tribe right here on this very island. Once the noise of the distant tourist airboats stopped for the day, I was overcome by a feeling of tranquility. I don’t consider myself religious, but I am a very spiritual person.

Taking the time out, I wanted to settle into the place and get a feel for it.

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I rather like this little excerpt from a poem by Richard Irving Broughton called “Hammock Land“:

“If you arrive in time

In the thinly thatched camp

Beyond the notice of dreams

You find the warriors

Forging the weapons of sleep

So they do not scurry

Into the closing throat

Of the great freshwater swamp”

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

‘Shelf’ mushrooms gone wild!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

This looked as good a path as any and I crawled out under this to exit the interior!

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When it came time to turn it around, I wasn’t able to find the blue ribbons again, so I had to free range my way out of the island. This meant crawling through the brush and wading knee to waist high water towards the western sun.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

More foliage to crawl through, heading due west toward the sun.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Finally stepping out into the open again, not quite sure where I exited the tree island.

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Exiting Chekika Island proved kinda gnarly, especially when I came upon the flattened grass in the image above. Thoughts of nesting alligators popped into my head, but I didn’t hear or see anything. Maybe an airboat pulled up in there? My main concern was how far away I had exited from my boat!

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Flex Maslan awakenthegrass.com Everglades Shark Valley photography aerial awakenthegrass hike shark river Slough sawgrass kayakfari backcountry florida

Hiking through overhead high sawgrass on another trip near Shark Valley.
Everglades hiking with an Altitude – exploring the Slough and Sawgrass prairies of Shark Valley.
CLICK for story!

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Once back out into the sawgrass, I was immediately reminded of that one time hiking in overhead high grass at Shark Valley. This sawgrass however was only waist to chest high, but easily tall enough to completely hide my kayak! This is why I flew the six foot orange flag. It would have been difficult to find my boat without it!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Dude, where’s my kayak? I exited a bit too far south from my entry point.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Oh, there it is! At the entrance to Chekika Island. 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

My ‘not-a-dive flag’ in the afternoon sun. It’s always a good feeling to reunite with one’s boat!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Heading out into the late afternoon blazing sun in the eastern Everglades.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Paddling the sawgrass prairies of Shark River slough.

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Paddling back to the levee was uneventful except for some cuts I received from the sawgrass.

Full finger gloves would have prevented this!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Oh, the perils of open finger gloves. Sawgrass is sharp as a razor if it rubs you the wrong way!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

This is the one type of trash that can be found almost anywhere in the Everglades because this trash can fly!
CLICK for story!

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Shark River Slough Everglades expedition camping River of Grass kayakfari Flex Maslan marshall foundation kayak canoe sawgrass caterpillar

A caterpillar on a saw grass blade.
Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition.
CLICK for story!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

A clutch of pink eggs of the introduced but established Island Applesnail variety.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Shells of the native Florida Applesnail – but the four species can be hard to tell apart!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Underwater view of the slough in the golden afternoon sun.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Periphyton mats and the sun from underwater.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Portage back over the L-67 Ext levee and into the canal.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Launching out into the sunset on the L-67 canal!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this kayak-adventure-photography visit to this off-beat place in the Everglades which spans the history of South Florida.

Check back for another story on Indian Key which will tie it all together!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Water Lily bulb in the canal.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer Chekika island kayak canoe everglades tree hammock sawgrass Harney 1840 Indian Key Mikasuki Seminole hanging people

Big ball of fire setting over the Tamiami Trail, my photo-kayak adventure and the Everglades!

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Enjoy!

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! Bless UP

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© 2016 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com / decoratedreality.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved!

DISCLAIMER:: The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

With that said..
Blessings friends!

:)

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