Along the Gulfshore


Getting up in Mother Nature's grill at Six Mile Slough

From where I was standing, it looked like it might be a black bear resting comfortably along the open section of the boardwalk. Then I decided no, it just looks like a wild boar. But wait, aren’t wild boars dangerous? Don’t they have tusks capable of ripping us stem to sternum?

Couple this with the fact that just steps earlier I was staring at nine-foot alligators sunning themselves by the shore and now I’m going to meet my demise at the hooves of a pig during an otherwise lovely day at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Ahh, nature. If you must enjoy it, come prepared with a life insurance policy.

Located 1.5 miles north of Daniels Parkway on Ben C. Pratt Six Mile Cypress Parkway, the preserve is a little slice of the Everglades that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from a Publix. (We promise you the actual Everglades are infinitely less hospitable.) Open from dawn to dusk seven days a week, the park features a fully accessible 1.2-mile long boardwalk trail, that puts you right in the middle of the action.

Hence the boar and alligators. In addition, there are countless flora and fowl that leave you in awe. But we turned around at the pig, preferring not to be left in ouch.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. It is a spectacle of wetland nature begging for your photography skills (and bug spray). Along the trail are several spots to sit or that allow for hidden viewing. We even spotted gar swimming in the shallows. It really feels like a magical place. However, if you do go, it’s best to read the park pamphlet which reads “It is best to respect all wildlife and watch from a distance as they go about their daily chores.” It should be noted that that sentence falls right after a sentence that reads “…the Slough is home to the Florida Cottonmouth.”