Welcome to 6 Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
The Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced “slew”) is a 2,500 acre wetland in Fort Myers, Florida, that measures approximately 9 miles long and 1/3 mile wide. This ecosystem is a preserve and natural drainage way collecting runoff water from a 33 square mile watershed area. It is home to many varied species of plant and animal life. During the wet season (June-October) the floor of the slough is covered with 2 to 3 feet of water and provides a wet habitat. The dry season (November-May) is a different scenario with dry conditions fostering brownish scrub grasses and providing an alternative habitat. A must see if you are ever in the Cape Coral/Fort Myers area. For information click here:
6 Mile Cypress Slough
A steamy, humid quiet morning greeted my arrival at 6 Mile Cypress Slough. The early morning stillness along with the subtle beams of the morning sun was hypnotic as I made my way down through the parking area into the preserve on the boardwalk trail. Instantly I was transformed from the asphalt parking area into a botanical wonderland complete with buzzing dragonflies and thick vegetation composed of red maple, slash pines, wax myrtle, cypress swamps and clusters of fern. I was looking for the sign: Welcome to Jurassic Park!
I was alone the first to enter the slough that July morning. Camera in hand and a day pack with a few water bottles I made my way to the first way point Alligator Lake home to blue herons, white ibises, and of course alligators . It was as if I had left the 21st century behind me and transverse back in time.
I was scanning the overgrowth and the slough floor for any movement- a bird, a reptile, perhaps even a possible sighting of the famed Florida Panther which had been spotted in this area a few months ago. Small sounds greeted my auditory function - water dripping, a small rustling in the underbrush. Was there something there, lurking, eyeing me as I made my way down the boardwalk?
Approaching the outdoor amphitheater at Alligator Lake I marveled at the scenery. The morning humidity creeping into the still morning air had colored the swamp with a mild haze.
|Alligator Lake - Reflections|
I arrived at the observation deck at Wood Duck Pond. Sitting on one of the benches I relished in hydrating with one of the cold water bottles as I observed the stillness of the pond looking for that elusive alligator. Suddenly movement on the water caught my eye and yes there he was as a remnant from those prehistoric times the American Alligator was swimming across the bond and into camera range. A graceful animal with that tell tale armor plating and sleek body design. Unchanged by evolution and at the top of the food chain I was now on his turf!
On to Otter Pond where I was rewarded with numerous ibises and turtles swimming in the pond. Returning on the main trail there were beautiful venues of vegetation floating on the watery surface, reflections of the overhead canopy where on the water gave it a surreal appearance. There were numerous growths of snap ferns overtaking the tall trees.
|Turtle sunning on Otter Pond|
Reflections on the Slough
|They sky and overhead canopy reflecting on the water|
|Part reflection and part growth on the surface of the water|