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Swimming with gators and petting wild boar

It's 84 degrees in south Florida and it's only February 1st. That's HOT for this season.

'Why not go for a swim in the canal' they said? Let's take a ride to the Everglades and see what we can see.

Who could even IMAGINE what wonders could exist at the end of the dirt road off Krome Ave. I kept hearing tales {{{{ this BIG }}} about 'Mack's fishing camp' and how the kids grew up swimming with gators...I'm thinking...NO FREAKING WAY!

It's about 2 miles off the main rd. down a

L O N G dusty driveway with tall grasses on both sides of the road. You can barely see the canal or the marsh waters of the Everglades. Of notice to me were the crosses and memorials sprinkled alongside the drive honoring the loved ones who met with too early a death in quad runner, car crashes or possibly some other accident.

This is OLD FLORIDA. You get the feel as you enter the camp that it's heyday, this place was ALIVE!!! It's pretty quiet now.

There's some older mobile homes with long term residents, modern campers housing the workers who are in town installing the newest power lines.

This place is WILD!! I feel like I'm in an episode of MAD MAX. I'm oddly smitten by the sight of GIANT swamp buggies with tires taller than my head, seemingly rusted into permanence from the saltwater, vintage Airboats retired along the banks of the canal and then there's the harmonious laze of roaming creatures. It's so idyllic seeing several male and female peacocks weaving in and out of the buildings, a couple friendly dogs loafing about welcoming everyone, a dozen tough and fearless tom cats napping on the furniture, dozens of hens and roosters which seemingly have no predators proudly strutting around unfazed. But it's the WILD BOAR licking my leg and the gators that Nicole-the owner calls by name that COME when called!!

NOPE...NEVER SAW THAT coming...but WHY am I surprised? There's a whole different energy happening here. And I LOVE it!

It's like a backwards world here by comparison to what I am used to. A whole mindset lifestyle that reminds me of a distant memory, something familiar yet...just out of reach.

Nicole is so friendly and laid back. The way people used to be. Southern hospitality?

She's got an edge though. Like I'd never want to piss her off. And then she shows me why.

See, she grew up swimming in the canal with 10-15 alligators. She takes me to the dock and clicks her mouth a few times and the gator in water turns and swims right over to us... His name is Richard or he's the newest addition to the gator pack and apparently she's not quite sure she trusts him yet. This is the one her kids recently lassoed and drug up on the shore to 11' long, he's a big BOI! This is also the one she found her son swimming with and rubbing his back.

Tales from the swamp...these people are FEARLESS!



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