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  • Lisa Parsons

Camping in the Big Cypress National Preserve

Beautiful lakeside campground

Imagine pulling up to a campground around a small beautiful lake. Campsites next to the glassy water's edge with palm trees shading the sites. Across the road are small cypress domes with wetland plants. Beyond that, tawny meadow grasses. Imagine pulling up to the site and thinking how nice it would be to take a swim, and cool of in the hot winter heat after a long day of hiking and driving. Now imagine that in that lake emerges the head and eye of an American Alligator. That, in a nutshell, is camping in the Everglades.

One minute nothing there and the next...

I'll pass on the lakeside campsite

From the roof top of our van I was able to capture the setting sun and dark distant storm clouds over cypress forest domes. Earlier, a walk around the lake revealed the beautiful illusion of tranquility. From this perch the illusion of an idyllic landscape is replayed. An illusioin with the sharp edges of predators…gators, panthers, and Mosquitoes.

Just a beautiful lakeside campsite on an outer loop

Cypress domes (islands of cypress trees form domes) Younger trees on the outside and older tall trees in the middle)

Armed with our bug screen, leashes, and locked doors we could fend off the predators, but for how long? Was this journey to see America worth the risk to our fingers and toes. Would we succumb to Zeka or the poison from a cottonmouth snake bite? Who knew? We certainly didn’t know for sure as we crawled into the safety of our Sprinter camper van for the night. A night filled with stars and the rhythmic sound of cicadas.

Sunset from seen from the top of our Sprinter van overlooking the cypress domes.

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