This is our third day of loafing about, mostly doing very little. Since Pam is getting some laundry done, I suppose that I should be doing something usefull as well? We just might head into Miami to explore this afternoon. After the busy days we have had the rest has been very welcome. I suspect that our next work rotation will be as busy as the last one, but time sure does fly by when busy.

     These two flowers fell to the ground from a small tree at the edge of our pad. Flowers on a native bush near our site. This is one of the flowers, still up in the tree near us.

These are some of the native flowers that are blooming next to our RV site.

         Pam instructs     We spent three days in succession this week meeting visitors, roving to keep the visitors at a safe distance from our residents and giving talks, Pam about wading birds, Kirk about the habits of alligators. We do a great deal of walking in our work and are on the feet a lot as well. We are quite tired at the end of each day and were sure ready for the three successive days that we now have off duty. We have mostly rested, although we did make a run to the grocery store and out to eat.


Today was one of the most busy days in this park and as such a very busy one for all of the interpretive staff. It was the first day for Pam & I to both work the visit information side of things all day. We each have a slightly different schedule, but alternate between days. Pam began as roving interpretive ranger, followed by a "table talk" on wading birds found near the visitor center. I spent the first part of my morning as bicycle patrol to keep the many who come here to bicycle around the tour route traveling in the proper direction and answer questions. That was then followed by a shift of roving while Pam was doing her talk. After lunch, I did a "table talk" on the life and habits of alligators, while Pam was roving ranger. She then took the park van out to the observation tower at the far end of our area to act as on site interpreter and I became the roving one. We had a very busy day with very heavy visitor traffic, but it was also fun and passed quickly.


Notice the great blue heron that posed with us, sitting on the rail about 20 or 30 feet behind us.


We celebrated Christmas Eve by attending services of a Baptist Church in Homestead, FL where we were invited by one of the park staff. We joined Larry & Sharon Hagen, volunteers at the Chikeka Day Use area in this evening of worship. Somehow this makes Christmas much more real to us.

On Chrismas morning we got up and opened presents, just as most folks in this country do. No chimney on the motorhome so perhaps that may be the reason that we were not visited this year? In any case the day was a good one with occasional showers in the area and with occasional sunny periods. We joined the Hagen's for an early dinner in a restaurant in Kendall for a very enjoyable day. I hope that all or our readers had a great day also!

Merry Christmas to everyone!


It is now Christmas Eve and we send all of our readers the happiest of Christmas greetings!

               An alligator family basking in the afternoon sun.

We spent Dec. 23 working in Shark Valley, helping in the visitor center and walking alligator patrol. The walking part is the most favorite part of what we have been doing so far, for me. It involves keeping the people at a safe distance from the many alligators that sleep in the sun along the walking area near the visitor center, as much to protect the alligatros as the people and sharing information about the resident wildlife that visitors see. You might be quite surprised by the number of people who seem to have a need to get much too close, or even to touch or kick one of the gators.


The population near the visitor center have seen people enough that they typically do not consider us to be either a food source or any threat and so they mostly ignore the people, as long as they are left with their space. We ask that people stay at least 10 to 15' away from the alligators. As amazing as that may souund, it is quite common to have to warn some people away from getting too close.  Others seem to think that since it is a park, they must be pets?

Saturday was a work day for us. Visitors were not numerous so we and another couple who are also volunteers spent the morning by clearing infringing brush from two short walking trails in visitor areas of Shark Valley tour road. One was a 1/4 mile loop and the other just a short out, & back trail near the observation tower. The couple who helped us work and live at the park's education center, a few miles from us. The education center is now closed for the Christmas break and so they had nothing to do. We were finished by noon so them Pam & I spent the afternoon in research and final preparations for the "table talks" that we will be giving for visitors, starting next week.

                      Larry Hagen and his motorhome.

We did a few chores today around the house and got some Christmas lights up, then went off to do a bit of running around We were in Kendall so with it being so close to the Chekika Area of the park, we dropped by to visit with Larry & Sharon Hagen who are volunteering there. As we had not let them know ahead, we happened to meet Sharon as she went off to Homestead to do some shopping, and neither of us noticed so didn't get to see her this trip. Still, we did have a good visit with Larry and also met the ranger he works with. 

On the way back we stopped for dinner at the local KFC. One thing that we find interesting to note is that in both Kendall and West Miami, it is very rare to hear English spoken. We had been aware that there has been a great influx of Spanish speaking people into the area, but even most anglo folks speak Spanish and in most places we stopped, we believe that we were the only people who spoke only English.


    A view of the RV sites from the gate.

We just did a lazy day around the RV for our Thursday. Slept really late, Pam did some laundry and I put up some Christmas lights, and that was about it. I seem to have had a touch of something in the night so was pretty lazy. The plan today is to run down to the south side of the park and visit our fellow Escapees who work there. At 9am it is sunny, clear, light wind and 70 degrees.


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