The National Mall (Evening)

Previously, I published a post titled The National Mall (Daylight).  People swear it is an entirely different experience at night, and I have to agree that away from the crowds and under the starlight that you see a different angle of the Mall.

My first evening experience on the National Mall was on the 4th of July.  Cacia and I decided to brave the crowds to see the fireworks, which were truly an amazing experience.  Getting to the Jefferson Memorial, however, was not a picturesque experience due to multiple security checkpoints we had to pass through.  I have spent enough time on the National Mall to know basically every route to a memorial, and it took us 1.5 hours to get from Metro Center (Red line) to the memorial.  However, our timing was perfect, as this location was not terribly packed and full of mostly respectful people.  The payoff was gorgeous too.

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Our view of the 4th of July fireworks from the stairs of the Jefferson Memorial

While we figured this was a bucket list experience, we both agreed that we plan to come back and see the fireworks next year.  Our viewing area was spectacular, but we hope to try the Lincoln Memorial next year!

When my friend, Emily, came into town this week, it happened to coincide with the August full moon.  I thought this would be the perfect time to finish seeing the National Mall at night!

Since it was nighttime, we were not really looking to cover the whole National Mall (See my former post for that!), but we were trying to see the monuments with the most interesting lighting.  My personal favorite view is the view from the World War II Memorial, looking towards the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Wold War II Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance

The World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial were my favorites to see in the dark.  There are some amazing pictures online of the Lincoln Memorial in the nighttime, but it is really hard to get a great picture of it closer.  There are tons of people on the stairs taking pictures with flash, which makes it hard to even to get a good view.  If you really want a great view of the Lincoln Memorial and/or a great picture, a summer full moon may not be the best night.

However, if you go to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, you have a great view of that monument, and the Jefferson Memorial looks pretty from afar too.

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While I will agree that the National Mall in the evening is a great experience, I just love it so much more during the daytime!  I missed the trees and the green on the night walk.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them!  The one and only Hudson dog is here this weekend, and he had a great walk on Roosevelt Island, which I will post about next week!

On an unrelated note, my friend Emma (Mentioned in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve) just started her own Florida State Parks blog after being inspired by this blog.  If you want to check out her blog, featuring her adorable Cocker Spaniel hiking in Florida, check it out here!

Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve

I already know what you are thinking- Who takes a trip to Florida in July?  And to see the Everglades nonetheless?  Yes, I did in fact do this!  Thanks to a work trip, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Florida.  My friend from graduate school, Emma, and her soon-to-be husband Kevin crazily agreed to make this journey with me!

The number one tip I can give you is to take bug spray and plenty of sunscreen if you visit these parks in July.  It is hot, humid, and takes mosquito bites to a whole new level.  The idea of seeing swamps may seem to be crazy, but it is so cool!  We started out at the Shark Valley Visitors Center.  I felt like I was adventuring through the tropics.

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A flooded pathway in Everglades National Park

Since it was the summer, we found most paths to be completly flooded and not accessible.  Due to the heat, we walked down the tram path for about 1.5 miles and then turned around.  Many people used the path to bike through the National Park, which could be fun in the cooler months.

While on the tram path, we did find a really cool wooded walkway over a large part of the swamp.  While I was convinced the whole time that an alligator was going to jump out and eat me, that did not happen.  It was so cool to walk over the swamp, though!

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Kevin, Emma, and I crossing over the swamp on a walkway!

To get around the Everglades, you actually cross through many parts of the Big Cypress National Preserve.  The National Preserve has spots where you can observe wildlife.  We really did not see very much wildlife there, but we did see the only wildlife we needed to see.

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An alligator peering out under the walkway we were crossing over at the Ochopee Visitors Center.  It was cool to see one, and it was just far enough away for comfort.

As we started venturing back up to Naples so I could pick up my rental car and settle into my hotel for the conference, we stopped back in the Everglades to see the Gulf Coast.  It was great to see the coast in a non-beach setting, and there had been many dolphin and manatee sightings over the last few weeks.

While my experience in the Everglades mostly involved driving, there are many more activities and less heat in the winter.  It was still very cool to see such a different area, and it was interesting to learn that this actually is a flowing body of water, not just a big swamp.  If you collect the National Parks cancellation stamps, there are many to collect here.

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Five different cancellation stamps

With a $25 entrance fee for the Everglades, my National Parks pass proved it’s worth again.  After saving $20 to enter Assateague Island in May, $25 at Shenandoah in June, and another $25 here, I am at $70/$80 spent for my National Parks pass.

While these National Parks were very cool, there are so many amazing outdoor activities in Florida that should not be missed as well!  In addition to checking out Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, I had a ton of fun in the sand at Siesta Key (Sarasota), kayaking through Mangrove trees, and seeing sunsets in Naples.

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Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida

Thanks for reading my blog this week!  If you have any questions or comments, post them below in the comments section, and be sure to follow my blog to not miss any posts.  I am back in D.C. for a few weeks now, and I need to do some light hiking to get ready for my September trip to Utah!