Fun with Fire Ants

So I get to the Everglades just before Thanksgiving and I'm really excited even though I live in Florida I've never been there. I have been to Miami 3 times Coral Castle 4 times I never got to the Everglades National Park. Let me take just a moment to say if you have never been to Coral Castle go you don't know what you are missing the place is amazing. One man moved tons of coral blocks by himself and built this unbelievable complex. Then to top himself he packed it up and moved it to the next town. I find myself wandering around inside just dumb struck the web site is so you can learn more.

My first stop in the park is the visitor center so I can ask a lot of questions. I just get stared at which is OK you can't expect everyone to know everything about the park I'll just keep asking. Keeping with the theme they just keep staring.  The other national parks I have been to the people there have had a passion about their park not so here everyone seemed bored with it and could not be bothered to find out information.  I quickly understood I was on my own. My expectations were a little crushed when I found out everyone was really excited about one Flamingo being sighted in the bay the week before I got there.

Now the sunrises and sunsets that were over the bay where spectacular. To get anything else I needed a canoe or a kayak the rentals were way out of my budget so I ended up buying a kayak.  If you really want to see the park bring your own trust me you need it. Bird's crocs and gators abounded even if I kept being told I was there at the wrong time of year. I was worried about thanksgiving people being on vacation and all. I asked over and over again if it was going to be busy that week and the answer was always no we don't get busy till mid December. Then when I tried to book my site for the week I was told I could not. That they had reservations I would have to check every day to see if a site was available. I just looked at the guy and said "I thought the web site says 30% reservations 70% first come first serve"  "There are only 5 campsites taken today and 4 of them I know from chatting with them are not staying.   

 My life then became a waiting game instead of taking pictures I had to wait till noon everyday just to see if I had a site.  One evening I come back from shooting late and someone has taken my camp site so I had to use one that was a mud hole then they tried to charge me for the second site. Complaining to the guy that I had already paid for my site and could not use it he informed me He could not deal with me because power had gone out to the RV section and they had been without AC all night. Well whoopee friggin do the poor babies. It was later in the week that one of the kids working there informed me that if a RV wants my site they get it. I'm sorry I don't remember the National parks being set up for the rich I thought they were for all the people.  Another point on how it was run if you will indulge me. I get up early one morning to shoot the sun rise. On the edge of the bay is this great wind bent tree I want in the foreground so in the dark I set up my tripod attach the camera then shift to my right so I can grab my backpack stepping right in the middle of a fire ant mound in my sandals. Doing what they do they start to bite me I jump into the ocean which is right there very ungracefully I might add. My thought was just to get them off me what I did was wash them up my pant leg. There I am thrashing around in the bay like a wounded wildebeest while the sun comes up and it's beautiful of course.    At that point it dawns on me that my camera tripod and back pack are still sitting over the fire ant mound. OK you can do this just run out grab them and jump back in. Except with my bad leg I don't run anywhere but I give it my best.  What it ends up looking like is Frankenstein walking on hot coals. With my gear held above my head I stumble back into the bay now I have no hands to swat with so now I'm Frankenstein stomping villagers. The sounds coming out of me fit the visuals. Thank god the beach is empty so it's not up on YouTube. The next week was filled with burning and itching I scratched skin off in my sleep which gets infected. Who knew open wounds and climbing in and out of swamps would cause an infection.

The ants I can deal with it's the cost of doing what I want what made me mad was informing the park people about them. Their comment was yea there is a bunch over there but it was just a tent site so they kept letting people set up camp no one stayed more than an hour. I was so worried about kids getting attacked it took them a week to close it off.