I probably could have used a second set of eyes. Nothing would have changed except I would not have been so surprised.
First, he is not as big as the photo makes him out to be. Maximum not quite 3 feet. Not a baby, but i was not getting in any trouble either.
I did not spot him until we almost next to each other. Being alone and walking slow he decided to stay right there. He did have the option of rolling over and slipping into the water, the usual tactic. He obviously didn’t want to.
The general rule is when you meet an Alligator like this you just give them space and move on. The trail is wide enough for 2 people to walk here so I stayed on my side, he watched me go by.
He did stand up (you can see he was on his feet below), but probably to make his getaway if needed.
I did get a shot as I walked by him, I mean really, a bit late to worry about it. Once past I set up for a few more photos and moved on.
This is one of the nice things about going out alone. He didn’t see me as a threat and I got the shot.