Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

The airboat that I'll be riding in

An airboat in action (not the one I was on)

One of the attraction stops on the airboat ride

Can you see the nest near the top of the trees?

Close-up of the nest

On the airboat ride

Banking hard while steering through the channel

The forest trail

Seen along the trail

Unexpected visitor

One of the famous attractions in the Everglades is an airboat ride.

Unfortunately, the airboats are not environmentally friendly. The biggest concern is that the slow-moving manatees are frequently injured by fast-moving airboats. Although the manatee is no longer an endangered species, thanks in part to the Endangered Species Act, they are still a "threatened" species.

That's why I went hiking and canoeing while I was in Everglades National Park rather that book an airboat ride.

I've now driven north of Orlando. The lakes are getting colder. There aren't any manatees in cold lakes. Now was the time to take an airboat ride!

There are several companies that run airboat rides in Lake Panasoffkee. I booked a trip on one of them.

It soon became clear that our captain has traversed every inch of this lake many times. He knew exactly where each of the lake's alligators lived. And, he knew that the tourists came to see them.

Most of the time the airboat went very slowly so that we could enjoy the scenery. Occasionally, the captain ran at full speed zipping through the narrow channels. He had to bank the boat steeply since it has no keel and no rudder.

While in the area, I found an old trail into the forest. It made an excellent route for my fat bike. Up north, a trail like this would normally have been made by loggers. It's possible that this trail was made for logging too. I don't know and none of the locals knew either. Whatever the reason for the trail's existance, it made an excellent ride.

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