Flowing water has returned to Sweetwater Strand.
And you can take my word for it, because not only is it a long drive and gas expensive ($4/gallon USA, 1.5 euros/liter Belgium): the mosquitoes have come out in full bloom*. So enjoy some photos of Sweetwater Strand taken over the years, at both high and low water, sans the mosquito menace of actually being there. I also added some additional photos of a few headwater strands that feed into Sweetwater. In case you didn’t know, Sweetwater is down Loop Road about 5 miles south of Monroe Station.
As for the sign saying “sweetwater … since 1974” — that’s a bit of a “play on numbers.” That’s the year that Big Cypress National Preserve was formed. As for the age of the strand itself, it’s probably been around for a few thousand years. Don’t forget that the oldest basal peats in the Everglades are only 5000 to 6000 years old. The greater Everglades is a young ecosystem geologically.
* By the way, it’s the housefly, not the mosquito, that is the most annoying flying insect in Belgium; and they are surprisingly quick. I still haven’t caught one. And there’s been a morning or two when I woke up earlier than I would have prefered to the sound of a buzz flying in and out of ear range — and a few well timed, if unsuccessful, swats. But part of my “early waking” may be because daylight hours are so much longer in the higher northern latitudes. Dawn arrives earlier — around 5 am — and doesn’t transition out of dusk until after 10 pm. Keep in mind that the duration of dusk and dawn are longer because the earth spins slower up in the northern latitudes than down south in Florida near the Tropic of Cancer. I’ll have to look more into that to get the exact hours right.