Monument Lake Campground

Y’all, I’ve been trying to post this for a few days now but my pictures weren’t loading… I persevered and conquered!!

We headed out to Midway Campground in the Big Cypress National Preserve to camp a week until a campsite back at Jonathan Dickinson became available again. It’s a small federal campground nestled in the southern part of the preserve, right along the Everglades National Park. This is alligator territory, folks!

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The campground is small, sites ringing a small pond about a quarter mile around. They have electric hook ups at the RV sites but NO WATER. You can fill up with potable water at their expense. But also no shower facilities….

Unfortunately, after one night, we realized we couldn’t stay our full week. 1) we could only walk Indy around the pond. Domestic animals are not allowed on trails in any nearby areas due to…. wildlife. Alligators, panthers, etc. Apparently the dogs’ scents are not welcome in the area. 2) No cell service.

I don’t mean to sound poshy. (As if living in an RV is hoity toity…) But we’re running a business folks. We need access to cell service for our hotspot to work so we can work on our computers. And make business calls.

So the next morning we headed just 8 miles down the road to Monument Lake campground, another federal property. Apparently it’s where the cell tower is located!! It’s also a small campground with sites surrounding a pond – but at least twice as big as Midway. It was a bit over a half of a mile loop so we didn’t get quite as bored walking and running it. (Although you should have seen the looks we would get when we ran! People could not help themselves from commenting on how many laps they’d seen us go ’round. Hey, 4-6 laps is our workout!)

The only note about this park – it’s only dry camping. But if your rig can swing it it’s worth it! Quiet, beautiful scenery and wildlife. And the camp hosts were great! We checked in and they gave us a heads up on the seafood fest going on in Everglades City, 20 miles down the road. It was a great choice!!!

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One day Mike and I headed out to bike a bit so we could get the closeup photos of the alligators. It’s unbelievable! They were everywhere in the canal. Rest assured, they were all on the opposite side of the canal.

HISTORY NOTE: We were biking on Rt.41, also known as the Tamiami Trail, originally built in the 1920’s to connect Tampa and Miami. All along the two lane road there is a narrow canal. More research revealed the canal was dug to provide fill dirt for the road. 

While out riding we stopped for a short hike at the Kirby Sorter boardwalk and were able to capture some beautiful pictures.

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You can click on any of the images to enlarge. I’m bummed my panoramic doesn’t look better in the blog. It looks much better in a picture viewer!!

But the most unique aspect of this campground was the need to hold Indy close each time we opened the door to take him out to check for alligators. Yes folks, all campsites are on the lake (let’s get real. It’s really a pond.) And there are alligators in it. At least two that we could tell. One seemed to keep at the other end but one seemed to like the edge at our campsite. S/he never came up on the ground (as far as we know) but we could see s/he resting on the rocks or in the weeds on the waters’ edge most of the time we were there.

We probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all if it hadn’t been for Mike. One of the first afternoons we were there he had hung the hammock on the camper. While relaxing he watched the gator swim all the way down the length of the pond, towards him, and set up shop right in front of him. Front that moment on we kept a pretty close eye on our canine “gator bait” (and ourselves)!!

Definitely a campsite we’d recommend!!

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