Former NPS ranger Deb Liggett describes some intense fun in an adventure to seldom-visited Taylor Slough in the heart of her beloved Everglades (from her essay “Forever Glades,” in the 2021 issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry).

vintage photos provided by Deb Liggett

“Canoeing through the Everglades means that the first paddler eats the spider webs. Someone has to do it, and we took turns leading. A mullet, an unappealing, oily fish if there ever was one, flopped into Jay’s and my canoe over the gunwale. I tossed him out with gloved hands. We bounced off mangrove roots, paddled when we could, and painstakingly worked our way through the mangroves toward the open, sawgrass glades. The maze grew more constricted and tangled. Abandoning our paddles, we waded and pulled the boats. We lifted our canoes up and over the curved roots of the now-cursed mangroves. Again. And again. And again.”

“Hot, and wading-thigh deep in brackish water, we tired. After a couple hours of effort, we sent Devi, the smallest among us, scrambling up a mangrove to see if she could find an open thread of water. No luck. We rested, peering around for the nesting crocodiles, and resumed our efforts for another couple of hours. Finally, we popped out into fresh water and sawgrass…

…As the afternoon progressed, thunderclouds began to build. The sky darkened, and we could hear rumbling and see lightning in the distance. It was time to stop for the day. But where?”

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