Halloween on the Taylor Slough

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Everglades Exploration Network 2015 Invitational:

Halloween on the Taylor Slough” special edition.

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Continuing on a theme of annual “Invitational” paddling events, this year’s event revisited the Taylor Slough in the eastern Everglades. The trip was organized and led by contemporary Everglades explorer Terry Helmers of the Everglades Exploration Network. Terry likes to go well off the beaten path and plans the invitationals right at the start of the Everglades camping season, usually late October or first week of Novemeber. Terry’s promise to participants is to never subject paddlers to a “tourist brochure route” and always delivers!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida ingraham highway

Charlie with Halloween head dress picks up the tail end at the NPS airboat ramp on the old Ingraham Highway.
Note: This is NOT a general public launch ramp – used by special permission.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photograph River of grass paddling kayak canoe 1916 airboat trail history floridamemory.com

This is what launching into the Taylor River Slough might have looked like back in 1916. Note the deep water full of Water lilies!
Credit: floridamemory.com

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A previous trip down the slough with a lot more water:

Running down the Taylor Slough

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail satellite

Satellite view of Taylor Slough and the entire 22 mile route.

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This year the invitational date fell on Halloween. There was a light fog and the early pre-dawn air had an unsettled, slightly eerie aura to it. Or maybe I felt his because I had already consumed too much coffee this morning.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

This year’s water levels were less than optimal, resulting in walking boats early on.
This was OK as we were actually walking on the old Ingraham Highway here!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Sunrise and a new day breaking through the clouds over the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail satellite

Satellite view of the NPS airboat launch ramp and vicinity on the old Ingraham Hwy.

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The water level was on the low side of “doable” for this time of year. The first stretch out of the airboat ramp involved a litle paddling, but mostly walking our boats over the remnants of the old Ingraham Highway. Also, the trail passes within shouting distance of the well know Anhinga nature trail. On previous Taylor Slough runs I remember clearly overhearing tourist’s conversations.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photograph River of grass paddling kayak canoe ingraham hwy 1921 airboat trail floridamemory.com

A section of the old Ingraham Highway, the first road ever to reach through the Everglades south into the town of Flamingo. Pictured under construction in 1921.
Credit: floridamemory.com

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Beautiful but highly toxic Water Cowbane (Tiedemannia filiformis) inflorescences silhouetted in the early morning sun.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

A sweet sunrise over the flora of the Taylor Slough!

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The upper part of Taylor Slough is a beautiful area, paddling among Cypress trees and mixed vegetation. The further south we go, the more open and prairie-like the landscape becomes.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Vivian and Connie in the early morning on the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida fisheye

A bit of free-ranging in the grass prairie of Taylor Slough.

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Moving through this grassy landscape at a human pace takes some hard work, but is also immensely satisfying for body, mind and soul!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Connie paddles nearly camouflaged on this (lil) River of Grass.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

On this section of the Taylor Slough we paddled past large fields of blooming and poisonous Water Dropworts (sometimes called Water Cowbane).

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Line paddling on the main NPS airboat trail through Taylor Slough.

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Grass paddling is one local Everglades specialty, and usually entails taking advantage of any existing airboat or other trails. Free ranging is possible, but it’s best to save the energy on longer trips such as this one by mostly sticking with the well established NPS airboat trail.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The ghost of a gator barks at “Amazon” Bill as he adopts a “Jesus Christ” rest pose. 

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Poling, pushing, paddling is all good as long as you keep moving through the landscape!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Making our way down the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Charlie of www.BushPaddlers.org on the Taylor Slough.

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Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Group shot from another slough trip: Running down the Taylor Slough.
CLICK for story!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail satellite

Satellite view of our line on the existing NPS airboat trail. Note the “zig-zag” rounding the remains of a tree island bisected by old farm irrigation and drainage canals!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida aerial

Aerial of approach leading up to a crossing of an old farming canal turned gator hole in the “zig-zag” section of the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

A morning traffic jam on the Taylor Slough!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Crossing the old canal. Remnants of these (relatively) deep canals will turn into gator holes during the forthcoming dry season.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Coming out the other side into some taller grass!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Is this a passing lane in the Everglades grassy trails?

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Nothing but grass, water and sky on the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The Taylor Slough is a very quiet place so the scraping of the boats through the grass can sometimes seem suddenly deafening!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Poling a canoe through the grass in 2015 on the Taylor Slough.

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Grass paddling and poling in the Everglades Water Conservation Areas

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades skiff Glades River of grass paddling kayak canoe 1913 poling history

Poling a Glades Skiff or dugout canoe through the Everglades grassy rivers back in 1913!
Credit: floridamemory.com

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The hungry ghost of the gator snaps at paddlers, where is my lunch?

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Is it lunchtime, yet?

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Just as we were about to start lunch, one of the paddlers suddenly appeared to pass out in his kayak. Thanks to quick action by the group, he was quickly pulled out. Turns out that there is such a thing as having too much water to drink! All that water and sweating threw off his electrolyte balance, which when combined with the heat of the noonday sun gave him a mild heat stroke condition. A sports drink remedied this situation. I find coconut water another a good way to keep properly hydrated in the Florida heat.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida electrolites

Some of our group attending to a momentarily disoriented paddler. 

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Back to the regularly scheduled lunch program in the shade of a small tree island.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The Cypress side of the small tree island.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

A beauty of a blue flower on the slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Ghost of a gator on the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

I find the “Jesus Christ” pose an effective way to stretch and relax on the water. You should try it sometime!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida aerial

Aerial view paddling an airboat trail on the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Toby aka “Whitecaps” of  www.watertribe.org in his Kruger canoe.

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Taylor Slough, Everglades

Grass paddling and sailing from another slough trip: Running down the Taylor Slough.
CLICK for story!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Terry Helmers poses for a rare break on the Taylor Slough.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail satellite

Satellite view of our transition from the Taylor Slough to the Craighead Pond and Nine Mile Pond canoe trails.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Dried husks of mangrove roots in the sun. Sometimes these collapse onto themselves leaving a distinctive “teepee” like shape!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Vivian paddling past the many small mangrove heads.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Ghost of a gator – “I’ve been waiting for you!”

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Taking a break on the old research platform on the south end of the Taylor Slough.

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Read about a previous trip:

Craighead Pond Canoe Trail

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

This canoe gets around!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Canoes on the Craighead Pond prairie.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Late afternoon over the Craighead Pond in the Everglades.

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As we departed the derelict research platform just before sunset, we also departed from the Taylor Slough. From this point on we’d paddle on the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail, staying just north of the mangrove “reef” line that separates the interior Everglades from salty Florida Bay.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The low setting sun turns the landscape into hues of magenta, brown and red!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

With the sunset, we knew there were at least two more hours to go!

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After we all paddled off into the sunset, it got dark, real dark. It really wouldn’t have been a proper Halloween without the darkness!

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We paddled most of the Craighead Pond in the dark under the stars. With no moon out, high power flashlights were essential for spotting the pvc marker posts as we made our way in a general north westerly direction. Thanks to the strong glow of (Miami) light pollution to the northeast it was easy to orient, but the markers were harder to find in the dark.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Leah busts out her head netting protection for skeeters in the early evening!

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ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars! Part II

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida milky way stars

It was a dark, moonless night on Halloween, with the Milky Way straight overhead as in this shot.
CLICK for story!

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Also enjoy:

ART of Halloween kayaking – a Darkness in the Everglades!

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Flex Maslan halloween kayak skeleton kayakfari evil horror everglades humor paddle photography b&w dark nightmare skull zombie fun

ART of Halloween kayaking – a Darkness in the Everglades!
CLICK for story!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

In the darkness somewhere in the Everglades!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Looking for pvc marker posts and cross-checking with gps.

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Once we found the the number 72 marker on the Nine Mile Pond canoe trail, the going was easy just following the numbers back to the official launch area for the trail.

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

Paddling in the Everglades at night added a special dimension to the experience!

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

This was the first time I’ve ever seen Terry wearing a bugshirt! 😉

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Flex Maslan Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond airboat trail florida

The ghost of a gator laughed wickedly as we pulled in to the parking area of Nine Mile Pond!
CLICK for animated version!

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Click for 2015 Invitational Paddle discussion and more pics and videos on the EEN forum!

Watch a video of the trip by canoeist Jay Thomas and Frank Fernandez.

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A BIG thanks to Terry Helmers and the Everglades Exploration Network crew for continuing to lead the way in contemporary Everglades exploration!

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Also enjoy:

ART of Dia de Muertos en los Everglades – the skeleton in my kayak!

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Flex Maslan dia de los muertos kayaking dead kayakfari paddle everglades skeleton halloween photography skull zombie kayak art

ART of Dia de Muertos en los Everglades – the skeleton in my kayak!
CLICK for story!

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Taylor Slough kayakfari everglades photography River of grass paddling kayak canoe craighead pond flex maslan enp airboat trail backcountry wilderness florida alligator

Finish before dark on Halloween ? A ha ha ha ha .. ha!

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rasta happy kayakfari kayak canoe paddle photography adventure miami

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Want even more grass paddling?

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Kayaking at Shark Valley – A visit to Seagrape Hammock, aka Willoughby Key!

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

Kayaking at Shark Valley – A visit to Seagrape Hammock, aka Willoughby Key!

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Crossing paths of Gladesmen, Gator hunters, Outlaws & Moonshiners: An invitation to paddling forgotten trails of the Everglades!

Flex Maslan kayakfari.com Bill Ashley Jungle Herman Lucerne backcountry Paurotis Pond kayakfari aerial Hells Bay canoe kayak trail everglades mangroves rabbit hole

Crossing paths of Gladesmen, Gator hunters, Outlaws & Moonshiners: An invitation to paddling forgotten trails of the Everglades!

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Pahayokee to Main Street – probing into the Shark River Slough

Flex Maslan Pahayokee Everglades kayakfari Shark river photo Slough Kayak Canoe grass paddling

Pahayokee to Main Street – probing into the Shark River Slough.

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Running down the Taylor Slough!

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Running down the Taylor Slough!

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

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

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

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Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition.

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

Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition.

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Grass paddling and poling in the Everglades Water Conservation Areas.

Flex Maslan Everglades aerial kayakfari grass Miccosukee paddle airboat 3A kayak sawgrass canoe dugout photo awakenthegrass

Modes of travel in the Everglades: Yesterday, today & tomorrow!

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Everglades hiking with an Altitude – exploring the Slough and Sawgrass prairies of Shark Valley.

Everglades hiking with an Altitude – exploring the Slough and Sawgrass prairies of Shark Valley.

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© 2015 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.

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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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