This morning had a rough start, between snoozing through all 3 alarms and forgetting to leave the coffee machine ready, I think it’s safe to say it didn’t start out so great. Along with the seasonal flu going around, not exactly the greatest time either. BUT it’s mornings like these that prove themselves over and over. I had to tough it out and just get up and go. I was invited to go shoot Shark Valley during sunrise at the observation tower, which is a pretty rare thing and I’ll tell you why. Park does not open until 8:30AM, meaning there are gates you can’t go thru with your car. If you’re a ballsy person ( and by ballsy, I mean a complete idiot), you could jump pass them and head right in. Along with the numerous crocs and gators on the walkway waiting for an early breakfast…just saying. So with that, I tell you basically its a no go. Fortunately for me, I got to avoid the reptiles and head in with a park ranger and his vehicle. Winning! I have to mention, I’ve never been to this location before. I have only heard about people taking their bikes along the trail, which is pretty popular apparently. Once we parked, we headed towards the observation tower which looked like a jetson inspired / art deco piece. It was built in the 60s, so go figure. Cool fact: it’s a historical monument! The tower itself was built over a really old exploration oil well, from many years before. It gives an awesome 360-degree panoramic view of how South Florida USED to look before the metropolitan area expanded. It doesn’t sound like much until you get up there. The cool breeze was so refreshing and the stars seemed so close you could almost reach out and touch em. I really urge everyone, especially if you are from South Florida, to learn about this spot. Once the sun began coming up, all kinds of birds began flying around above us. Due to the winter time approaching, a lot of them are headed down south. If you’re into bird photography, you’d have a ball. Despite the minimal clouds, the sunrise was absolutely amazing and peaceful. Besides the shutter snapping and birds singing, it was complete silence. The Park Ranger was loaded with tons of information, I wish I could have recorded it all and blab about it on here.
After the sun was up, we headed down to another portion of the tower. A super small room where previous rangers used to spend weeks sleeping in, exploring and keeping tabs in the area. It wasn’t anything in there except for some old mop buckets and brooms, but you gotta have a key to get inside. So, that was pretty cool! Hopefully, they fix it up to look like the original home, like the park ranger mentioned. Once we headed back, I took a quick walk to the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. The name has absolutely no meaning to the actual trail having bobcats, in fact, I have no idea why it’s even named that. It’s only .4 miles long, so if you are short on time definitely check it out.
If you are visiting Miami for some time and want to check out this place out, please do so. I’ll also be holding photography workshops at sunrise here pretty soon, so if you are interested join my group called ‘Chasing Light 101’ on meetup.com!