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Many cities and urban areas are dotted with parks and places to escape to nature within their own confines. These places often recreate the environment that once existed where most of the development now stands. Six Mile Cypress Slough in Fort Myers is one such park, but it is a whole lot more.
The unique experience I had of visiting Six Mile Cypress was during Florida’s humid summer months when it rains almost daily and the crowds are much less than during the winter months. What stood out to me about Six Mile Cypress immediately was how raw and wild it truly is, just a mile or so away from big box stores and malls. It is truly an escape to another world. The Slough is located just off the I-75 Interstate where it connects to Colonial Blvd.
Even though the foliage and nature here is swampy, overgrown and dense, the logistics of the park are very nice. It operates regular hours between: 10am and 4pm Tuesday-Sunday. Mondays it is closed. There is ample parking, a driveway and a fee of $5 to park. There is even a great sidewalk which extends from the main boulevards nearby which is how I arrived on bicycle. Even though the summer rains had made the slough area muddy and flooded, there is a raised walkway which covers a large part of the trails over the wetlands.
Flora and Fauna
I don’t know if I can speak for the dry winter season, but the rainy summer months bring Six Mile Cypress Slough to life. It was a matter of minutes in the park that I heard leaves rustling and saw an armadillo digging for food. Lizards scurried around trees the whole time. The lively ponds were full of all kinds of birds, alligators, turtles and fish. The majestic Cypress were a sight to behold. The mangroves and other swamp dwelling plants were spectacular. Perhaps the most fascinating encounter can as I stood on the elevated footbridge when a family of wild board came just into sight, they were so intent on foraging for food I could have reached out and touched them, but I opted for the photo and keeping my fingers instead.