Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Nick Kelly, Jacque Kelly, Rosie Miller, Elizabeth Kelly
Date: November 4, 2021
This one mile trail wound east of the spring through a hydraulic Hammock and cypress swamp that is ever-changing with the seasons and water level. Signs warned us about chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes & venomous cottonmouth snakes. Along the trail was a jungle forest of maples, smelly sweet gums, magnolias, palm trees and plants filled with songbirds. We kept our eyes open for alligators and were always swatting mosquitoes away. The .5 mile Monkey Island Spur Trail took us to Monkey Island (Photo#2 & #3), a former home to several monkeys when the park was an attraction in the 1950’s & 1960’s. A small jungle cruise boat would take patrons around the island. We passed “Old Methuselah”, a famous old growth bald cypress tree (Photo#4) which is over 600 years old. The trail opened up at the Fountain of Youth site, where in the 1880’s began a campaign to market the healthy spring water as a medical miracle to stop aging. Nearby were the remains of a sugar mill wheel and the Sugar Mill Restaurant where any time of day you can cook your own pancakes.