Everglades fun day paddles

Hello, someone just emailed me regarding my 2010 everglades trip with my alpacka. I never posted how that went so here is my response:
Hello Sam. I did have fun in the Everglades but would only recommend a packraft for short day trips. My main problem was wind and overall speed of the packraft. Also, I’ve heard there are oyster beds(not where I was) that are very sharp and people sometimes hit them when the tide goes out.
One short water trail I did which was perfect for the packraft was:

Noble Hammock
1.9 mile loop
Winding through a maze of shady mangrovelined
creeks and small ponds, the sharp
turns and narrow passageways require good
maneuvering skills. Enjoy a “crash” course. Check
for low water levels during the dry season. A
calm trail on a windy day. Motors prohibited.

Their “crash” course description was accurate, there were parts so tight and twisty with me
ducking through the mangroves that you couldn’t swing a paddle. I was just grabbing branches and pulling my way through. Very pretty scenery.

Another fun paddle I had was from Coot Bay Pond into Coot Bay. However once I got into Coot Bay that sucked because of the wind. My original plan was to make it through Coot Bay into Whitewater Bay and to Hell’s Bay Chickee to camp overnight. I got a late start and by the time I got across Coot Bay (which is a good sized lake but not huge) and struggled through the canal connecting Coot Bay and Whitewater Bay(strong current which matched packraft’s top speed) I decided to head back. Coots Bay had had wind and white caps and Whitewater Bay was bigger and windy too. I didn’t want to risk not being able to get to Hell’s Bay Chickee before dark.
The cool part was the very beginning, there’s a narrow little mangrove lined stream connecting Coot Bay Pond to Coot Bay. Lots of birds and as I passed a half concealed alligator in the mangroves, it slid back under the water with some breaking of branches. About five minutes later I came to a spot where a tree had fallen across the stream and blocked passage. I had to climb out of the raft and onto the tree and then pull the packraft with my backpack full of camping gear lashed to it out of the water and over the tree. The water here was deep enough that my paddle did not reach bottom. Of course as I’m shimmmying and balancing on the fallen tree that’s suspended a foot above the water, I’m remembering my alligator friend from a few minutes before and how I’d watched alligators jumping out of the water for snacks on an alligator tour I’d done a few years back near New Orleans. This would’ve been harder if I’d of had to haul a kayak or canoe over the obstacle.
I’d recommend the Mud Lake Loop (#6 on the Flamingo canoe trails map) wish I’d have gone that route.

Thanks for the info
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