Day 1
Everglades City to Watson's Home, Chatham River
18 miles


We parked our car in the Everglades Park lot and after about an hour of loading the kayaks, we were off by about 8:30. The tide was very low so the best route was west of the Chokoloskee causeway. It took us about an hour to get to the official start of the Wilderness Waterway. Our first day route was along the inside passage of the waterway, taking us through several bays and finally to a cutoff of the Chatham River and Ed Watson's old homesite where we camped.

Along the 18 miles, we only saw a few boats with people fishing and NO other kayakers. The Rangers had explained that since it was the "dry" season in Florida, the salt water had intruded far inland, so the alligators were not in the area. This time of year they are found miles inland towards the Tamiami Trail where the water is fresh.


When we got to the campsite at about 3:30, it had a dock, a pit toilet and several picnic tables. As we were setting up camp, a fishing boat stopped briefly to explore the historic site and gave us 2 cold beers!!
There are few signs of the old homestead beyond a concrete foundation, a few decaying farm tools and an old syrup boiler. The large land area was originally a shell mound created by the Calusa people over many centuries. The grassy area proved to be a very nice comfortable place to set up our tents and cook dinner.

Sleeping was no problem after kayaking 18 miles. In the morning, one of the first things I heard was Steve telling me to look outside the tent. Staring at me was a bobcat no more than 20 feet away. The bobcat was probably there looking for the fresh water supply found in the old cistern.


Next Day