Running down the Taylor Slough

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Paddling and sailing on the Taylor Slough in Everglades National Park.

.

Every fall in South Florida there comes a point when water levels remain high in the Everglades, while temperatures, humidity and bugs markedly drop. This usually happens sometime in October and the winds also pick up as a result of frequent cold fronts that sweep down over us. When the good and very helpful folks of the Everglades Exploration Network organized a run of the Taylor Slough, I was eager to go. The Taylor Slough, is the smaller of the two main sloughs (drainages) of the Everglades (Shark River Slough is the main one). It’s an important hydrological feature of South Florida, and a significant part of the Everglades Restoration Plan currently under way. Paddling down almost it’s entire length makes for a very unique and unusual trip – a trip through ecosystems and everglades history!

.

Florida Coastal Everglades Long-term Ecological Research

Everglades Slough Map, courtesy (FCE-LTER) project.

.

The plan was to meet well before dawn near the park entrance so we could launch into the upper end of the slough, run down most of it, and veer off to join up with the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail, and ultimately with Nine Mile Pond. We would be facing an all day paddle of about 22 to 24 miles, so every minute of daylight was valuable. Knowing this I pre-camped at the Long Pine Key campground.

Since it was a beautiful clear night, I didn’t put up my rain fly.   I was comfortable, and in the bug-free comfort of my tent,  got some good sleep.

.

Long Pine Key Campground moonlight Everglades kayakfari

Evergreen tall pine trees in the moonlight at Long Pine Key.

.

Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer kayak camping stars night Everglades landscape pano print art Florida Bay slough shark camping with the stars

Clear skies with a big moon overhead.
ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars!
CLICK for story!

.

Long Pine Key Campground Everglades kayakfari

Pre-camping at Long Pine Key Campground.

.

In the canoe, there would be plenty of room for a cooler or two and assorted camping and survival gear as well as creature comforts. This old Coleman 17 canoe would probably accommodate a refrigerator, so it easily swallowed everything.  This lead some of the others to jokingly ask how many weeks we were going out for, yet I did have cold beverages to the finish! 🙂

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Daybreak.

.

After launching we immediately paddled S-SE through a water logged wildreness of grass and cypress trees. Using an old airboat trail, we pass within shouting distance of the well known and travelled Royal Palm Anhinga trail, and later the Ernest Coe backcountry ground campsite. I could hear people’s voices in the distance.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Paddling along the old Ingraham Hwy / airboat trail.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Early morning sun lights up a cypress forest patch.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Canoes sailing down the river of grass!

 .

Kind of like Running Down a Dream!

 This landscape quickly gave way to a more open flooded grassland prairie. With welcome northerly winds, some of the group sailed their canoes down this river of  grass, which was an awesome sight, and worked very well! Made us wish we had a sail too!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Paddling down a river of grass, the Taylor Slough.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Most of the group on the upper part of the Taylor Slough.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Checking for directions to follow an old airboat trail.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

A break in the middle of the slough

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Group paddler’s conference on the slough.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Paddling through tall and very sharp sawgrass patches was challenging!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Group shot in the middle of the Taylor Slough.

.

After a few more miles, the landscape openened up even more, and mixed hammocks gave way more to mangroves and Marl Prairie. The sky was very large!

Some tough spots included thick sawgrass and gator holes while we searched for the trail!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Lunch in the shade of a tree hammock island.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

This nice lil hammock probably has some actual dry ground in the middle.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

A Jesus-eye view of the slough on our round world. 😉

.

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

Aerial view paddling over the canal from “Halloween on the Taylor Slough”.
CLICK for story!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Crossing old overgrown  farming canal / gator hole!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Water lilies in gator hole canal.

.

Water flow through the Everglades Hydro System:
Past, present & future?

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Satellite view of our 23 mile route in red with the specific points of interest.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Satellite view of S. Florida courtesy NASA with route marked in red.

.

At this point our next challenge was to link up with the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail, which lead us towards an abandoned research platform where we took a welcome break to stretch our legs. With just a bit of work, this could be made into an inexpensive awesome backcountry camping platform/chickee!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Water level indicator on the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Navigating on the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail.
CLICK for story!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Shallow brackish waters near Craighead Pond.

.

This lower section of Taylor Slough is a rich biological zone, full of “Everglades Cheese” (Periphyton algae). It’s the last open space, as immediately to the south  is the thick and impenetrable  mangrove wall which separates us from the salt water of Florida Bay less than 5 miles away!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Periphyton algae provides the base of the food chain in the Everglades.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Stretching out on an old research platform on the Craighead Pond Canoe Trail.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Remnant research tubs full of “Everglades Cheese” (Periphyton algae).

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

My Santa-Sombrero provides the ultimate in shade!!

.

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

At the southern part of the slough from another trip: “Halloween on the Taylor Slough”.
CLICK for story!

.

Taylor Slough kayakfari Craigshead Canoe Trail

Somewhere between Nine Mile Pond and Craighead Pond Canoe Trail.
CLICK for story!

Just a few miles to the west, the trail joins with a section of the Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail, which was take us out to the main Park road.

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

“Are we there yet?”

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

I Spy Santa-Sombrero in the mangroves!

.

Taylor Slough Everglades kayakfari

Trip terminus at Nine Mile Pond.

.

Everglades National Park Map and Route

Approximate 23 mile trip route in red; map courtesy ENP.

.

We made it with about 45 mins of daylight left – good going for a 23 mile run.

A BIG thanks to Keith and Terry, ENP and all my fellow adventurers on this great trip!

.

The End

.

.

You may also like:

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

Halloween on the Taylor Slough.
CLICK for story!

.

.

.

© 2012-2016 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.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!

🙂

One comment on “Running down the Taylor Slough

  1. Pingback: A kayaker’s May 5th tribute to the humble and versatile Sombrero. | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s