My anticipation of camping in the Everglades during the winter peaked when I began traveling along Tamiami Trail also known as Florida’s Route 41. Tamiami is the abbreviated name merging Tampa & Miami before interstate 75 was ever considered. My focus is the two-lane corridor between Naples and Miami Fl paralleling interstate I-75, known as alligator alley.
The simplicity of the road opens beautifully before me as I transition from the western suburbs of Naples Fl with communities bordering the six-lane highway that eventually merge into a two-lane road, that epitomizes the essence of southern Florida.
The Tamiami Trail is straight and flat, as you pass guard rails over bridges of small streams of water that disappear into the landscape of the mangroves at certain locations. On a bright sunny day, your eyes capture the untamed growth of wilderness.
When traveling eastbound Collier-Seminole State Park is worth the stop to learn the history of how the two-lane road was developed.
The Bay City Crawler or “Walking Dredge,” was built in Bay City Michigan and the photo above is one of several types of dredges used to build the Tamiami Trail during the 1920s.
Its primitive appearance resembles a mechanical dinosaur, but its worth was regarded as an incredible machine that performed an engineering marvel in the construction of the road through the trackless Everglades and Big Cypress Swamps.
The Tamiami Trail between Naples and Miami is an incredible driving experience with stops along the way to rest, learn and discover a diverse ecosystem.
In the coming days, I will identify various aspects of the Trail’s insects, a certain bird, and one of its elusive animals that can affect your travels and give you a moment to pause along the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami Florida.
Researchers have discovered the topography of South Florida was the sea’s floor for most of the last 150 million years with a very stable geological base, with the foundation beneath the swamps, trees of various types, shrubs and the river of grass consist of limestone. This formed from the calcium carbonate of the shells of tiny marine creatures over millions of years.
The name River of Grass is taken from the word “Ever” from the word forever & Glades which is an old English word that means a grassy open place. The Native Americans Seminoles & Miccosukee who lived in the area named it Pa-hay-Okee which translates into “grassy waters.”
The Everglades is an intricate system of subtropical wetlands, lakes, and rivers, originally covering more than 4,000 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) from Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of Florida. However, due to development, the Everglades has been reduced to less than half of that size, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
While sometimes thought of as a giant swamp, the Everglades is technically a very slow-moving, shallow river. Because sawgrass marsh dominates this river, it was traditionally called the “River of Grass.” In fact, Native Americans living in the area called it Pahayokee, meaning the “grassy waters.” The subtropical climate in the area features hot and humid summers and mild winters. Around 80 percent of rainfall occurs in the summer
If you are traveling along the Tamiami Trail, take the opportunity to view the clarity of the Everglades waters allowing you to see its bottom until you walk into the water stirring the sediment into a brown cloud as you move through its waters.
But, beware, there will be alligators in those waters. 🙂