Researching the Everglades Was Fun!
By Margaret Daley
A couple of weeks ago I went to Florida for the NINC conference in St. Petersburg. It’s a great writer’s conference. A friend and I decided to do some research while we were in Florida. We stayed overnight in Naples before the conference and spent the next day in the Everglades. We weren’t sure we would get to see much because of the Hurricane Irma a few weeks before. The Everglades National Park was partially open, but Big Cypress National Preserve was still closed due to the hurricane. Thankfully we found a place that had recently opened back up for business, and we were able to take a tour of the Everglades off Highway 41, which cuts across the lower part of Florida and goes to Miami.
I learned so much from our guides into the swamp. What not to eat and what I can eat. For a writer that’s great information to have for a romantic suspense book. I saw a lot of down trees, but also how the Everglades was bouncing back. The high waters were starting to recede and the animals that fled to higher ground were returning. I got to see an alligator in the wils and tons of beautiful flowers and birds. I thought being outside a lot I would have problems with my allergies, but I didn’t. I believe one of the reasons why was the air plants that littered the Everglades. Some were destroyed in the hurricane, but there were still many in the remaining trees to purify the air. It was a perfect day. I held a three-year-old alligator and talked to a man who handles alligators. Again, wonderful research for a book! But the best part of the trip was traveling into the Everglades on a dirt road. My friend and I didn’t see another human being for almost two hours. The road was narrow (one car only), and the swamp came up on both sides. There was no cell reception, so we tried not to think about what would happen to us if we broke down, but a lady at the Everglades tour company told me about the scenic road. She was right. It was great!