Journey to another time as we cross the state in search of some Florida pre-history. We’ll begin our adventure amidst the epiphytes and ancient cypress trees of the unique 6-mile Cypress Slough. As we do the quiet heel-toe walk of the Native Americans, we’ll spot dragonflies stalking their prey as we learn about this valuable water-cleansing ground saved from destruction by schoolchildren. The gallons of fresh water might wash away the evidence of the people who once inhabited this place, but we’ll soon find them as, after lunch, we set out to a local Calusa archaeological site. Large shell mounds are evidence of the ocean where our first inhabitants found their food. Our Florida adventure continues as we board the Tropic Star, an authentic “jungle queen” riverboat. Dolphins join our journey, jumping in our wake as we make our way to beautiful Cayo Costa. We’ll set camp and head off to one of best shelling beaches around. Our bags filled with the oceans discarded treasures, we’ll return for a “home-cooked” dinner. We’ll be prepared for an evening of activities, including our Native American campfire, before retiring to our tents to sleep under the stars.
The next morning, we’re off for an exploration of the island’s many varied ecosystems. A short hike from the beach takes us on a natural journey from dune to hammock to pine flatwoods, discovering the many changes along the way. Next, we take to the kayaks, exploring the vital mangrove system and perhaps spotting a shy manatee along the way. After our estuarine exploration, we’ll head back to break camp and greet our dolphin friends once more. As we head home, our minds and hearts are filled with thoughts of the gulf coast’s astonishing natural beauty and the amazing people who witnessed it long before us.