Saturday, January 16, 2016
Hontoon Island State Park
Hontoon Island is between the St. Johns River and the Hontoon Dead River six miles from DeLand Florida. The island can be reached by boat or by the passenger ferry operated by the State Park. The park has a small marina with two slips for boats up to 60 feet long. When we arrived, one was already taken by a resident volunteer who lives aboard a Kadey Krogen full time. We took advantage of the daylight and good weather to take a bike ride on the trails that wander about the pine flat woods, palm and oak hammocks. There are cabins and tent sites available as well as bikes, kayaks and canoes. Slips in the marina are the cheapest we have ever found--$18 per night!
Sandhill cranes, American White Ibis, Black Vultures, Black Crowned Night heron all make their homes on Hontoon Island. Alligator and many poisonous snakes also reside on the island--we kept the dogs close on our walks through the park. Manatees love this area for its 72 degree water. If they were around, they were keeping themselves well hidden. We did see egrets and vultures galore.
There are several trails to hike or bike. We biked the Timucuan Trail to see the middens formed by Native American Indians. We frightened an armadillo on our ride and he/she frightened me as well.
The central Florida Boating Group planned a chili cook off for the weekend at the park and were expecting about 15 boaters. An invitation was extended to us to attend and possibly judge the chili--unfortunately we had plans to head down to Blue Springs and see the manatees. We will stay longer on our next visit here.