Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 10, 2015 - Orange City and Hontoon Island, FL

It was a perfect morning for Edith to go to the spring to try filming manatees one more time.  Not as many manatees showed up near the deck, but she managed to get some on the film.  Two park rangers came by checking to see if everything was alright. They saw Edith using GoPro camera in the water, smiled at her and said nothing, then left.

After Edith got back to the campsite Erwin suggested that we go visit Hontoon Island State Park which was about 12 miles from Blue Spring State Park.  We got gas fill-up on the way.  No entrance fee at the state park, but there is a donation box.  Hontoon island is a 1,650-acre island tucked away on the St. John’s River southwest of DeLand and to get to the island there is a water taxi that will transport hikers and campers.  No motorhomes are allowed on the island.  

Puddles, puddles and more

We did not have to wait long for the water taxi to take us to the island.  After we got off the ranger showed us the trails that we could take.  We forgot to pack water bottles in the backpack, so we stopped at a snack shop to get a bottle.  After looking at the trail map we decided to go on one route that had a boardwalk. However, at the beginning of the boardwalk there was a Wet Trail sign posted.  We thought that maybe the trail should be okay by now because it had not rained for days since we started camping.  However, we had to turn around and went back to where we started because about 1/2 mile or so there were puddles everywhere and it was virtually impossible to get around them.  We went on a different trail which lead to the campground and beyond.  It started to get so hot and we did not see anything interesting to continue and we turned around and went back.  We must have stayed about an hour and half on the island, took the water taxi back to where we parked the Jeep.

We explored the area for a while and saw several Sandhill Cranes. There is even a caution sign notifying the motorists of Sandhill Cranes in the area.  We had never seen the sign before.

Manatee Mailbox with Santa hat

Sandhill Crane
Before getting back to the campsite we drove by Stetson Mansion, a 10,000 square foot Victorian house that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was built around 1880's.  It is now a private property, but is open for tours.  It was closed when we got there, but the gate was about to open when we were ready to leave.  $30 for a grand tour or $20 for a standard tour.

Back to the campsite we rested a bit before we started to put things away, so we won't have to do much when we check out of the campground tomorrow morning.  

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