Hontoon-Swamp LbNA # 30995
|Placed Date||May 12 2007|
|Location||2309 River Ridge Road, Deland, FL|
The Timucuan people lived for thousands of years along the Atlantic coast and inland rivers in what are now Georgia and Florida. Snails gathered from the shallows of the St. Johns River were a staple food of these people. Through the years, the discarded shells accumulated to form large mounds. The race died out in the late 1700’s and most of what is known about them is from the accounts kept by Spanish explorers and a few archeological sites such as the one you’ll visit finding these boxes. The island consists of 1,650 acres and the nature trail is 3 miles round trip. If you are camping at the youth camping area, the total hike is around 5 miles and can take 2 to 3 hours.
The six boxes in this series were inspired by a series of five letterboxes (now gone) placed along the same trail by MountainScorpia on January 7, 2002. Merritt Island Boy Scout Troop 343 enjoyed finding the original boxes (SWAMP OWL, CLAY DOG, CLAY ACORN, SWAMP FOX and CLAY DEER). Those boxes contained finely crafted hand carved stamps that were copies of drawings of Timucuan art and culture. Unfortunately, all but one were lost during the hurricanes of 2004. Clay Acorn was recovered and returned to its owner (now living in North Carolina) but the rest were probably washed down the Saint John’s River. New boxes were placed along the trail by Scout Troop 343 While not as crafty as the originals, two of the boxes are at the same location as MountainScorpia’s Box 3 (Clay Acorn) and Box 4 (Swamp Fox). Some of the text to these clues are from the Original series. The trail is easily negotiated and well-traveled. It is in a marshy area and can be wet after rains. All the boxes are in roots or crooks of trees. NO DIGGING. These boxes are located within 100ft of the Nature Trail on Hontoon Island and are easily located with a Compass.
PLEASE GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO BE SURE THE BOX CONTENTS FIT BACK RIGHT AND THE LIDS ARE WATER TIGHT BEFORE YOU REPLACE THEM IN THEIR ORIGINAL SPOTS. PLEASE ANCHOR THEM IN THE CROOKS AND ROOTS OF THE TREE SO THEY DON’T FLOAT AWAY DURING STORMS.
Take the pontoon ferry to Hontoon Island and locate the Hammock Hiking Nature Trail The free ferry runs from 8 am till sundown.
No. 1 – SWAMP DRAGONFLY
Watching signs: Sabel Palm, death gives life, wax myrtle, lichens, saw palmetto, slash pine. Stop at the Southern Magnolia. Look in the direction of 290 Degrees and go 45ft. You will find SWAMP DRAGONFLY in the crook of a tree 3ft off the ground. Return to the trail.
No 2 - SWAMP BONES (old location of CLAY ACORN)
Continue along the trail. There is a large cut log at the beginning of a "lazy L" boardwalk. At the far end of the boardwalk, take 15 steps, then right 18 steps to a large straight tree with smooth knees and big feet. SWAMP BONES is planted behind the tree in a crook between roots. Return to the trail and turn right to continue.
No. 3 – SWAMP DOG
Continue past the "lazy L" boardwalk and rest at the bench. Sit where TW+CD sat and did things the park ranger wouldn’t approve. Look West at 280 degrees and sight an old hollow log laying in a slant 30ft in the distance. You will find SWAMP DOG by reaching up into the log. Beware of Spiders!
No 4 - SWAMP HANDS
Continue to follow the trail. Who Rakes the Leaves around this place anyway.. Walk past the Hontoon Island Geographic Survey Marker, observe the beauty of the river and continue walking up the nature trail. At the Laurel Oak look out at 220 Degrees for a tree 50ft in the distance. You will find a tree growing out of a 4ft stump. Look among the roots on the Southwest side of the tree. Return back to the Trail.
No 5 – SWAMP FEET
Continue uphill towards the Indian Shell Mound. Notice that Florida Law Prohibits Digging or Removing Artifacts from this historic area. Walk 350 Degrees for 75 ft.. Look for a Big Fallen over tree with a large knob on the bottom of its trunk. Walk around the tree and look in the roots on the Northwest Side of the tree. Beware, if you stray too far, the bog can be deep and wet here. You can really get Swamp Feet. Return to the Trail.
No 6 – SWAMP BUTTERFLY
Continue to climb in elevation toward the end of the trail. At the top of the hill there will be a bench on your left. Stay on the north end of it. Admire the massive Oak Tree and the magnificent 10,000 year old shell mound. There used to be many more of these Timucuan munds but 19th century settlers excavated them and used the shell to "pave" the muddy streets of Deland and other area settlements. Now go behind the bench and at about 120 degrees and 54 steps look for the base of a tall oak with a baby growing out ot its trunk. Here you will find the SWAMP BUTTERFLY.