This trail is considered easy because it each turn through the crazy curvy mangrove swamp is marked--not because the canoeing is actually easy. We eventually improved our rusty canoeing skills and managed not to kill each other or get lost in the first long day's paddle to our first chickee.
So, canoe camping in this area of the Everglades means setting up camp on platforms several feet above the surface of the water. This is necessary for two very important reasons. First, so (long scaly) critters don't visit and because there's no dry land. We passed a lovely and only slightly buggy evening. There was fishing...with not too many bites, but Doug did manage to land one fairly tasty catfish.
The next morning, we headed out for our next chickee (camping in Hell's Bay allows only one night on each campsite). This part of the trail had more open water and wider trails through the mangroves. We spent our last lovely evening in the Everglades on the Pearl Bay chickee and then packed up to head home the next morning. The paddle back to the trail head seemed way easier....and while we didn't technically see any alligators while we canoed, we did heard one slip into the water and watched the movement of water as something big swam under our canoes.
After we repacked the car and got some much needed showers, we headed out towards the Keys. We lucked into finding an open camping spot at Curry Hammock State Park. We spent a few nights there while we explore the area, ate tasty seafood, and celebrated Doug's birthday by going deep sea fishing!
And just imagine, just a few months later, we did another crazy canoe trip in the other direction...Boundary Waters here we come!