Friday, April 24, 2009
I feel Fweeeee!
Reveille came at the crack of seven, and after waffles and coffee, we decided to go hike the island.
A chart of the park was acquired at the ranger office and we attired ourselves in appropriate clothing and shoes and hit the trail. We walked along a dirt road until we came to the Nature Trail.
This trail wound along until the water was reached, and we read carefully the display signs describing the trees and bushes. Very nice path, it was well cared for and interesting.
I started flashing back to Aircrew Land Survival School at Eglin AFB, thinking about making camp with saw palmetto, building a fire with a little heat reflecting wall and snacking on palmetto roots. Like 1982, I started to wish for some pizza.
(All I had to do was walk back to the boat if I needed food...)
The sounds of wildlife became more apparent. Woodpeckers a peckin', bugs a buzzin, owls a hootin', you get the idea. I was thinking about snakes a slitherin'. Here is some sort of bird inna tree...
Moving on down the path way, we saw a break which led to water. Look at this character:
The view of the small river is actually very nice. Back when this was a working ranch, there must have been some very lucky families who thought this was all an everyday thing, and they couldn't wait to get out of this backwoods dump and live in Jacksonville.
We charlie mike'd on to the destination: Timucuan Shell Mound. The "Owl Clan" of the Timucuan's had lived on Hontoon for thousands of years, eating (and probably being eaten!) the local gators, fish and of course, the ever present freshwater snails. They would boil the shell critters into a broth and use bone utensils to extract the yummy filling. Shell mounds are the mess they left behind. The State does not want us stealing the trash.
Seriously; If I found something of note, the last thing I would do is run off with it. I saw the "Brady Bunch in Hawaii", maybe it was titled, "Marsha's Maui Adventure", or was it "Peter stole some artifacts and Sherwood Schwartz wants his teeth back"?
Here is what we found on the two thousand year old mound:
I would not disturb the mound. Nothing to see but leftovers, maybe imagine a nicer smelling dump.
A modern day human can almost feel the connection to past peoples who sat in that spot tossing their empties on to the trash mound. One other thing; I don't feel there was anything spiritual about the early residents, and we need to stop projecting some sort of reverence and mystery into what these people were doing, otherwise we get into ancestor worship:
But I can tell you what they were doing and feeling;
THEY HAD FARGIN' TOOTHACHE'S AND WERE LOOKING FOR THE NEXT MEAL! Oww-owww and running from hungry gators! (Think of the late Sam Kinison yelling that last sentence)
A look to the lower land which probably has the real remains of the people and their implements of living:
So back we meandered. We got to the part of the trail by the Buzzard's Gate and decided to head over to the dirt road since my Spousal Unit's ankles were up to no good. As we traipsed along, (remember the snakes I was afraid of?) we heard stirring in the brush to our left. This little guy cam stumbling out. How often does a Floridian get to see one of these in a living state?
Soon, we came to this curious sign. I immediately looked down to see if I could find that "fork" in the road. Like Yogi says, "When you get to a fork in the road; Take it!"
There was a little concern now, we could be lost. But we kept moving and came upon a campsite.
Twelve bucks a night!
Drawing our hike to an end, we came upon this hawk doing the hawk thing:
Upon return to Barco for lunch, we found the welcome committee in repose:
That turtle above? We found him sunning on the river. If he keeps meditating in the sunlight, I swear he is gonna fly!