Several state and county parks are offering full moon and evening adventures. We chose a moonlight canoe tour offered by the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the last northernmost portion of the Everglades, which was just slightly north of our campground in Sunrise, Florida. Unbelievably, for $10 per person they provided a canoe and a guide to lead you down their five mile canoe trail. So of course we couldn’t pass that up.
There seemed to be a fair amount of inexperienced paddlers in the group so we had kind of a slow start. Fortunately, the trail wasn’t technical so people could get away with less than perfect coordination.
Hector and I went ahead of the group and just behind the leader, who was in a kayak. He really wasn’t offering much information, he was just there to make sure that the group didn’t go the wrong way and that they got back, but he did point out a few things along the way.
The canoe trail went through a sawgrass prairie and a few mangroves. The light was good enough to see the trail and the prairie but not really good enough to spot a lot of wildlife. And although we had headlamps it was kind of cool to just paddle without them. We did spot a few alligators, really you can only see their eyes (glowing red), and because it was a somewhat narrow trail they usually submerged as the canoes approached. We also managed to spook some birds as we came near them and saw them fly away.
But the most fascinating thing about the moonlight canoe is the sounds that you hear throughout the trail. It was a constant concert of bugs, frogs, birds and other critters. It’s definitely a unique experience. We’ll certainly look for other opportunities to paddle in the moonlight in the future.