A Different Kind of Snake Bite

The Everglades is a wonderful and sometimes mysterious place: A place wonderful enough that a mid-westerner such as myself has been there 3 times. Whether spending time at the famed Anhinga trail getting up close and personal with Great Blue Herons or walking through the Shark Valley in and around American Alligators, there is something for everyone.

One of the lesser traveled trails is the Snake Bight Trail. Located near the Flamingo Area, this trail doesn’t really have a parking area but one only needs to pull off, park and get on the trail. More famous than the trail itself are the mosquitos that can be so thick, you’d think a person could be carried away. While reminiscing of a trip a few years ago, thoughts of the Snake Bight trail quickly came to mind. Fortunately for us, the mosquitos were tolerable so we decided to hit the trail in hopes of making it to Snake Bight Bay.

The goal for the morning was to photograph Spoonbills and we hoped to have the rare opportunity to see Flamingos. Vegetation was thick at times but manageable. As the sound of traffic slowly became distant, closer cries of Red-shouldered Hawks flying above the canopy gave way to truly being in the swamp. At around the 1.5 mile mark, we knew we should be close to the boardwalk that would take us out into the bay. As we continued hiking, however, the vegetation started thickening and rising. Soon we were surrounded in dense green so thick; a “trail” was no longer visible beneath our feet. We quickly made the decision to turn back as the sun was setting and the thought of a night with no gear in the swamp was not desirable. To this day, I don’t know if we made a wrong turn somewhere or if the trail was just crazy thick that year but we turned around and started the long trek back with heads hanging low. On our return hike, talks were grim but disappointment turned to excitement as a Tricolored Heron popped out of the swamp and perched on an open branch no more than 20 feet away. A great view of an even greater bird sure made up for a long hike through the swamp.

Josh Haas

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One Response to “A Different Kind of Snake Bite”

  1. Josh,

    That is a lovely juvenile Tricolored Heron, so glad it was there for you to photograph after your disapointing trek on Snake Bight trail.