Saturday, February 27, 2016

Manatee Springs State Park and the Shell Mound

Cypress tree and its "knees"

Magnolia cone
While staying at Cedar Key, we visited Manatee Springs State Park, and "no" we did not see any manatees. We were told where they had been in the morning and we looked, but we couldn't find them. The park did have a very nice boardwalk through a cypress swamp which was pretty fantastic or creepy looking, depending on what you think about swamps. The cypress have "knees" that grow up over their roots and look like little troll houses.  I liked the explanation that they add support to the tree base, but I am not certain that is true.

Loblolly pine.
Cabbage Palm


Fantastic cypress swamp (or creepy)

We also went on a self-guided walk through the woods (2 miles) to learn about the local vegetation, the results of planned burning and a recreation of a Native American chickee hut.

Chickee hut

Then there were quite a few vultures hanging around in the trees and on the fences, and they were creepy... I have no idea why they were hanging around. There must be food there somewhere. We just kept moving and looked lively!

Traveling along, we visited a shell mound which looks like a small hill, now being covered with plants and trees. This is a Native American site that covers 5 acres and is the result of 3,500 years of shells, bones and household debris disposal. It is 28 feet high and where the ground is eroded you can see all the shells.

George in the background walking up the shell mound. The whiteness of the path is from the shells.

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