Lake Okeechobee locally referred to as The Big O is the 7th largest freshwater lake in the United States . Covering almost 730 square miles it is half the size of Rhode Island. In spite of it’s large size, it is only 13 feet deep at it’s deepest point.
Okeechobee is thought to have been formed out of the ocean about 6,000 years ago when the waters receded. At its capacity, the lake holds 1 trillion gallons of water and is the headwaters of the Everglades. Due to a high dike surrounding the lake, very little of it can be seen from the road. The dike has become part of the Florida Trail, a 1,400 mile long trail that has been classified as a Natural Scenic Trail. The 100-foot (30 m)-wide dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee has a well-maintained paved pathway along the majority of the perimeter. It is used by hikers and bicyclists, and is wide enough to accommodate authorized vehicles.
Judging from what I’ve seem the best views can be found on the north side of the lake, looking west and south, it is so large it almost resembles an ocean view. Some of the views I’ve had from other areas, only marsh lands can be seen. Of course this was at times of low water due to little rainfall in the area.
Lake Okeechobee was hit with two major hurricanes in the 1920’s in which thousands of people died and much property was destroyed. This resulted in the Florida Legislature creating the Okeechobee Flood Control District. As a result many channels ,gates and levees were created, whereby the flow of water could be controlled.
As a result, recent hurricanes have had little effect on the lake, thereby no major damage or loss of life has been seen.
If one has the time there is an interesting display of some of the old pumping equipment used to transfer water out of the lake. The John Stretch Park, located near Clewiston on Hwy. 27, is an interesting half hour stop along the way.
Fishing has long been a popular sport enjoyed on Lake Okeechobee, with Largemouth Bass, crappie and blue gill being the favorite catch. There are many small villages surrounding the lake and many opportunities to drown a worm abound. Due to earth being excavated during construction of the dike, navigation can be difficult. A deep channel runs around the perimeter of the lake . In most cases the canal is part of the lake , however in some areas they are separated by grassy islands , hence
making it difficult to navigate from one area to the other with out becoming stranded in the grassy marsh land.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
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