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Whether I like it or not, some songs can transport me to a specific place in my life. When I hear Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” I’m sitting in the wheel seat, again, of a stinky school bus on my way to a cross country meet, trying to summon the adrenaline needed to compete. The opening swell of “The Simpsons” theme song (a childhood staple show) brings me to my spot at my parent’s kitchen table, with a microwaved Marie Callender’s frozen chicken pot pie (another childhood staple). Also, when I hear Flo Rida’s song “Wild Ones,” I think of a college spring break trip to Florida—a tropical respite we earned after months of gray dreariness in Missouri. At the start of the trip, we listened to Flo Rida somewhat ironically, but our song requests grew more and more genuine as the week passed.
We’re deep into winter now, which is a great time to consider a February trip to Everglades National Park. Winter is the dry season for this park on Calusa, Miccosukee, Tequesta, and Seminole land, meaning lower temps, fewer mosquitoes, and a better chance to spot wildlife. Water levels drop in the dry season, so more animals like alligators or deer congregate around the remaining watering holes.
When it’s ski and ice season in the rest of the country, it’s peak season in southern Florida, where temperatures range from the low 60s to the low 80s with low humidity. No need to wait until summer: You can paddle, hike, camp, and sit beachside now. Everglades National Park is the third largest in the Lower 48, so there’s plenty of land to explore.
Obviously, taste is subjective. But to me, these songs embody the experience of visiting the Everglades. Listening to them is like paddling around the Ten Thousand Islands, sipping a piña colada while watching the sunset, or watching an eagle fly overhead during your hike with a fish grasped in its claws.