June Adventures

The weather is getting hot. If you live here, you’re quite well aware of that fact. I recently wrote a blog post on the fun things we Floridians have to deal with as summer draws near. You can read all about that here:

Guided Hikes and Photo Walks

As the weather starts to heat up, I considered canceling all of my hikes until November, but then I decided I would miss you guys too much and I just can’t do that! So I will continue offering three hikes per month. Two of these are free, and one is paid. If more than twenty people sign up for one of the free hikes, I’ll offer two at the same location. And if more than ten sign up for a premium hike, I’ll offer two of those as well.

Baby alligator at Bird Rookery Swamp in Naples.

Photo Walks

On the first Saturday of every month, we’ll continue to have a photo walk. These are casual and slow hikes where we stop often to take pictures of whatever shiny thing catches our eyes. This is for photographers of all levels, with whatever type of camera you have, even if it’s just a phone. Guests are welcome to ask any photography questions they have and I’ll do my best to help. Or we can all just walk around and take photos, it depends on the group and the level of experience everybody has. It’s a great walk for anybody who likes photography. The pace is slow and the distance is 1-2 miles. These hikes last about one to two hours. This month’s photo walk will be at Bird Rookery Swamp in Naples on June 4th at 8am. More information and sign up here:

Gumbo Limbo tree at Lover’s Key in Ft. Myers

Guided Hikes

On the third Sunday we’ll have our big group guided hike. This involves quite a bit of stopping to talk about things we see. We learn about the flora, fauna, and ecosystems of Florida during these hikes. These hikes are great for anybody who would like to learn more about Florida or just enjoy some time in nature. The pace is generally slow to moderate. The distance is 1-3 miles and hikes last about two hours. This month’s hike will be at Lover’s Key in Ft. Myers on Sunday, June 19th at 8:30am. Sign up here:

Premium Hikes

There will be no premium hikes in June. We’ll resume these hikes on July 24th. Details will be posted on Facebook and meetup as the date draws more near. Premium hikes are more personalized hikes that are limited to the first ten people to sign up. Each participant receives a magnet to commemorate their hike. Keep an eye out for upcoming hikes, I’ll do these randomly as time permits.

Meetup and Facebook Updates

If you would like to always be in the know about upcoming hikes please follow RH Photo Adventures on Facebook or Meetup.

Let’s Talk about Alligators

American Alligator

Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction at one point, after about 200 million years of relatively uninterrupted existence. In 1967 they were listed as an endangered species when their numbers declined drastically due to uncontrolled hunting of them for their hides and meat. They were removed from the endangered species list in 1987 when their populations became more stable. Today they’re listed as a threatened species and are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their primary threat is habitat loss.

A lot of people are nervous about outdoor recreation in Florida, such as hiking and kayaking, due to the presence of alligators. Alligator attacks are actually quite rare. In the past seventy years or so, there have been about twenty-five fatalities caused by alligators. I wrote a post a while ago on sharing the trails with alligators, which you can find here: Alligators are generally much more afraid of you than you are of them. They will leave you alone if you give them a respectful and safe distance of at least 30 feet, whether in a kayak or on land.

Some fun alligator facts:

All of the babies born from the same alligator nest will be mostly the same gender. Gender is determined by the temperature of the nest. If it’s over 93 or so degrees at the time of egg laying, the babies will be male. If it’s around 86 degrees or lower, they’ll be female. If the temperature is in the middle, there will be some of each gender.

Mama gators are very good mothers, most of the time. Babies stay with their mothers for up to two years. During this time, mothers are very protective of the babies!

Alligators eat just about anything. They enjoy fish mostly, but they’ll also eat turtles, birds, crustaceans, and small to medium sized mammals. Sometimes they’ll go after a large mammal and keep it under water, eating it a little at a time. They will occasionally eat other, smaller alligators as well.

They live 30-35 years in the wild and over 50 years in captivity.

Alligators are considered a keystone species because their existence helps other critters exist. During the dry season, alligators dig around in the last remaining parts of a lake to help the water collect in one area, thus creating a watering hole for many other species and a deeper puddle for fish to survive in – until the gator eats them. They also serve to maintain balance in the ecosystem.

They can run up to 35 miles per hour, but they get tired very quickly.

My own fun fact – alligators are one of my very most favorite animals!

As always, thank you for being a part of my adventures! I love having you along and look forward to hiking with you. See you on the trails!

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