Gear up for a wet hike
Full of animal magnetism, the Big Cypress National Preserve becomes even more mesmeric with autumn's cooler weather. During an A.D. Barnes Park Swamp Tromp at this time one year ago, eco tourists spotted deer, otters, snakes, alligators, turtles, and a variety of birds. Two guides steer a van along Loop Road to spotlight the vibrant wildlife and vivid verdancy. The driver stops when someone spots something cool and also at a trail where everyone slogs through the bog. Dress appropriately and bring water, food, and insect repellent. Admission is $40. This morning at 9:00 meet at the A.D. Barnes Nature Center, 3401 SW 72nd Ave. Call 305-662-4124. -- Greg Baker
Cycling for a Cause
From Red Road to Duval Street
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The event formerly known as Bike It and B.E.A.R It for AIDS has wisely decided to change its name to the Southernmost AIDS/HIV Ride Two. SMART (for short) is a weekend-long bicycle excursion from Miami to Key West with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to charity. Last year the organization raised more than $169,000. This year it plans to double that figure. The ride takes place this weekend and will cover more than 165 miles of pedal-pushing madness. Each participant will have the unique opportunity to direct how 50 percent of the money he or she collects is distributed among those infected, affected, and at risk for HIV/AIDS. Along the journey, riders will have the time to contemplate the karmic reimbursement for their altruistic act. The ride begins at Sunset Place, at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Red Road. Each rider must raise $1200. Call 1-866-696-7701 or visit www.thesmartride.org. --Kris Conesa
Between the Atlantic and the Glades is there anything other than glass and concrete? Yes! Tucked away in scattered corners throughout South Florida are the remnants of once-common tropical hardwood hammocks. Among the thick shrubbery within these cooler-in-summer, warmer-in-winter micro climates is an incredibly rich variety of plant life, including trees, exotic orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. Taking advantage of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida's Tropical Hardwood Hammocks Walking Tour, hikers will have a chance to wander among some of the continent's rarest plants and animals, see the oolitic limestone bluffs, and get the lowdown on conservation efforts dedicated to preserving the remaining forest islands. The tour meets at the entrance to Alice Wainwright Park, 2845 Brickell Ave., Miami -- near Vizcaya. Admission is $20 and the walk lasts from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Call 305-375-1621.--Margaret Griffis