Canoeing in West Palm Beach, hiking in Naples

Grassy Waters PreserveOne of my favorite activities that I don’t get to do too often is canoeing. And it’s even rarer when it’s at night under a full moon. So this past Saturday was especiially fun when my friend Steve and I went on a guided full-moon canoe trip at Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach. This is the second time I’ve gone on this canoe trip and, ironically, the first time was with Roy about three years earlier. That actually was the last time Roy and I hung out outside of our local disc golf course. Apparently, I should have kept it that way as you can read why here.

But back to the present – I’ve been to this nature preserve several times before in the past, as there is a disc golf course right down the road from it at PGA National Park. After a couple rounds, I would stop by to check out the nature center and to hike along the boardwalk. I’d also inquire about when the next moonlight canoe trip was. On this particular evening, all the canoes were filled up as the twenty or so of us paddled through the marshlands while our tour guide gave us a rundown of the area and its history. A mostly serene and uneventful trip, except for a tipped canoe…by the one of the guides. And even though these waters are full of gators, both of them were able to get in the boat before they became dinner.

Big Cypress Bend BoardwalkI drove to the west coast on Sunday to spend the day in Naples and Marco Island. My first stop on the way was at Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Big Cypress. Everytime I go out to the Everglades, I love stopping here and hiking along this scenic boardwalk. I then continued west and drove around Marco Island. I next made my way to Naples and the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. where I hiked along the several nature trails. After driving in and around Naples, I headed back east, but not before stopping by Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Another one of my favorite Florida hiking spots, this 2 1/4 mile raised boardwalk meanders through a pine upland, a wet prairie, a cypress forest, and a marsh, and judging by the number of bird watchers and photographers, is a favorite of nature lovers too.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

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