By James Gorman

GPS: 26°25'N 81°25'W

Waist-deep in a slough inside Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, the temptation is to look down. (The park is inhabited by alligators and snakes, after all.) But biologist Mike Owen directs your attention overhead to the garden of bromeliads and 44 varieties of orchids spilling from the trees. “Travel by braille,” is how Owen describes a slogging tour into the park, where participants feel their way over submerged logs and around cypress knees using trekking poles. The slogging holy grail: the fabled Cathedral, a 100-yard (91-meter) wide hothouse of epiphytes.

Vitals: www.floridastateparks.org

Originally published in the April 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure


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