The Turner River
Two places that I've been hearing about since I arrived in 2009 are the Dry Tortugas and the Turner River. While it's shameful that I still haven't made it to the islands off the coast of Florida, Turner River is a lesser-known, but equally beautiful area in Everglades National Park, just two hours from my doorstep. A group of ten friends got together this weekend to paddle the river on a ten-mile one-way trek out to Chokoloskee. I knew it was going to be a promising trip when a one-eyed, nine-foot alligator was guarding the entrance.
Whitewater rushes out of a mangrove forest along the banks of the Turner River
For the first three miles we floated through freshwater mangrove tunnels. Our paddles were nearly useless so we grabbed the limbs like monkey bars and swung our way until reaching open water. To my amazement, we came upon a ripping tributary that was gushing whitewater over a mangrove bank. I have never seen whitewater in the Everglades, frankly because there just isn't enough relief to create riffles. I didn't have enough time to go find the source, but it's very possible it was spring-fed.
Garl Harrold and Linda Lorenz happy to arrive at Chokoloskee
After four hours on the water, we made it to Chokoloskee, just barely out-running a storm as the sun was setting. I'd love to go back to explore those mangrove tunnels a little more with my camera. There are certainly more photos to be had in such a primeval place. Until then, I'll just enjoy having spent a wonderful afternoon with my friends in another one of Florida's hidden gems.
Audubon Aventure Sunday crew