We loved our time in Big Cypress!!! We are already talking about coming back next year – and planning our stay at the Midway campground! ~Course, I already have big guys planning on a 9 day back-swamp canoe trip then too – where they will have to haul all their water and food, sleep on chickees (platforms over the water), and take nautical maps to find their way – they will also be canoeing through gators and water moccasins! LOL! I’m so not going – they can set the RV up down in Flamingo and I’ll drop them off and pick them up!
We had such a nice time at the campground in Big Cypress – I think that every one of our neighbors was exceptionally nice (we only heard one person complain about TWELVE people in ONE RV – but he was also fishing, and we were competition! a lot of competition! hehehe!) If the hosts fielded more inquiries or complaints, they were too gracious to let us know! The kids threw back most of the fish that they caught, after pictures of course… We did the Jr. Ranger program at Big Cypress, where Ranger Brian checked our booklets. Ranger Brian could not seem to get away from us as he was on the swamp walk that the guys took, and also on some other fun adventures that we did! He’s one of those fun to meet rangers because he really loves his job! He is also a Civil War history buff, so he checked out the badges that the kids had earned from CW parks, and then grilled them on famous generals from those locations! LOL! This is a picture of the Oasis Visitor’s Center, taken from the road. It was our favorite v.c., and we stopped by a couple of times. They offer a 26 minute film introducing you to the park, and the rangers were cheerful. This is the place to go if you want to see lots of big alligators. The Welcome Center is a different visitor’s center, at the west end of the park, and is where you can see a few alligators, and manatee, and you can also watch the same introductory film there.
The weather was beautiful the entire time that we were there, so we asked the camp hosts if there was a burn ban. Since there wasn’t, they said that we could use a tent site that wasn’t being used and have a campfire in the fire ring. The little girls and I were walking around the pond collecting downed wood, and pretty soon we had more firewood than we could possibly use; the camp hosts dropped off a load of firewood at the fire ring when they thought we weren’t looking , and another camper drove over to our site and gave us a bunch of apple wood that he had brought from home in Arkansas. Our roasted marshmallows were extra good!!!
We had so many nice neighbors! One day a gentleman from one site down stopped Vaughn and said, “that’s quite a brood you got there!”. Vaughn agreed and laughed, and the guy asked him if the kids liked sweets. Vaughn said yes, but that we try to limit it – so the gentleman sent over half a case of Peanut Butter M&Ms, instead of a whole one. LOL!
We also camped, almost the whole time, a few sites down from a super nice couple in a Class A with a green beetle for a toad (to you non-RVers, that’s a volkswagon being towed behind their motorhome ). They would sit out in the beautiful Florida sunshine and watch the kids play football and fish.
You know how someone can say just the perfect thing to encourage you? That is what they did for us. They didn’t know the trials that we were going through at the time, but God used them mightily to encourage us by the words that they spoke to Vaughn.
During our 10 days at the campground, we also attended 2 campfire talks: during the first one, the ranger talked about the Seminole battles that occurred in southern Florida, and the second was about air plants (plants that grow on a host tree/plant without harming them).
We had such a wonderful time in our jaunts in Big Cypress, and our time in one of our new favorite campgrounds! :-D