Everglades Exploration Network

Stair Steps (near Coconut Hammock) down to Willy Willy or Mullet Bay.

This one exists it's just a matter of finding it.

There are many advantages to finding Smugglers Run:  It connects

Mitchell Landing down Lostmans Slough to the WW.  It's all established airboat

trail down to the Stair Steps and, unlike Shark Slough, camping is permitted

anywhere in Big Cypress NP.  Just open up a park brochure and look at how close

the Stair Steps are to Willy Willy.  Back in the 1970's you could hear the airboats

when camping at Willy Willy, I've wanted to find the route ever since but

never tried.

Use the same methodology as documenting the Lost Portage:  During the

drier season (now) base camp at the nearest campsite, Willy Willy, locate the

route, document it and next October, maybe November depending on water levels,

paddle it from Mitchell Landing.

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You need to camp at a designated campsite in Zone 4 of the Stairsteps Unit but there are many sites and nobody is using them. Since the deer and wild hogs have disappeared in Zone 4, there have been very few airboaters using the area.  I checked in one hunter all season for Zone 4 and the Mitchells of course still go out to their camp. The area supports many large pythons.

I'm in.  Can we attach a sanctioned snake hunt to the project? 

Document Smugglers Run and you can have all the snakes you want.

During the wet season we could even get delivered to the Stair Step by our airboat team but

the best is just load up our powerboats and come up from the gulf. 

We've done Shark Slough a bunch of times, Taylor Slough too many to count, it's

time to put Lostmans Slough on the paddler's map.

With the historic action that's been in that area, there's a lot to be discovered between

the southwest corner of Big Cypress NP and the Lostmans area.

I agree

Terry said:

 

With the historic action that's been in that area, there's a lot to be discovered between

the southwest corner of Big Cypress NP and the Lostmans area.

This will be an outstanding trip, what shall we smuggle?

If we run across one - it will be taken.  I'm in!

Esther Luft said:

I'm in.  Can we attach a sanctioned snake hunt to the project? 

Another Saturday in the house, so here come some maps... :-)  The orange lines are from the Stair Steps BCNP website which provided the kml file BCNP Stair Steps Trails.  So where abouts is Smugglers Run on this map?

 

Attachments:

The first sentence of the start of this discussion.

Oh now I understand. :) "once ya know its easy". I'll look on GE some more. Once established would going down and back up to Mitchell's be reasonable? Then the car shuttle to EC or Flamingo would not be a factor. The best part is the middle part of WW is reachable on the first day. 

After Smugglers Run is documented, it could be used any way you want.

Like Shark and Taylor Slough most would be thinking one-way in October or November.

But first, the big job, it has to be surveyed.

This one needs a bunch of homework.

I used to be fixated on the area from the airboat trail at the deepest corner of the Stair Steps to

the creek that runs right to Willy Willy, not the creek that looks closest on the northern

end of the little bay at Willy Willy.   But with the new images I'm seeing old airboat trails

going in the direction of Mullet Bay, that could be why the route eluded many in the 70's and 80's.

But these same images show quite a structure between Willy Willy and the Stair Steps

that isn't the same shape as the flume or dosing stations in the sloughs.   Old sponge drying

racks??  There's has been a bunch of stuff going on down there for a long time and first

everyone must stare at the aerials.

The second step is to get powerboats to haul canoes out to Willy Willy base camp on a long

weekend.   I'll bet once a hidden opening is located there will be an obvious well used old route -

Smuggler's Run.

The quest to find "Grouper" Pass is on...

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