Cedar Key

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Cedar Key

Bushnell, FL – Events of Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A few weeks ago, Linda and Rob of My Quantum Discovery gave us a shout-out in their blog because they used info from one of our posts when they visited Silver Springs State Park. Now it looks like it is our turn to thank them because a recent blog post of theirs inspired us to visit Cedar Key last Wednesday.

By the way, “key” is the Anglicized version of an Indian word “cayo” meaning small island. In the Bahamas, their small islands are called Cays, which is closer to the original Indian word. Cay is spelled differently, but it is still pronounced key.

Cedar Key is a town about two hours northwest of where we are staying in Bushnell. The town is located on Way Key, which is the largest of a group of small islands just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the town occupies most of Way Key, the whole island is frequently referred to as Cedar Key. Although each island in the group has its own individual name, the entire group of islands is called Cedar Keys. Cedar Key gets its name from the eastern red cedar trees that used to be so abundant in the area.

Our first stop was at Shell Mound, which is located north of Cedar Key at the end of County Road 326. Shell Mound is a midden mound that is part of the Lower Swuannee National Wildlife Preserve.

Initially, we weren’t sure exactly where the trail for the mound started, so we followed the road all the way to the end where there is a boardwalk out over the mud flats to a fishing pier.

Shell Mound_0001
View from the fishing pier

If you go to Shell Mound, take insect repellent. We carry Off towelettes in the glove compartment, but we neglected to use them when we walked out the boardwalk to the fishing pier. The no-seeums just about ate us alive.

There is a trail from the parking area at the pier, but we weren’t sure it was the right one (we later found out it did lead to the mound), so we drove back the road about a quarter mile to another parking area where there was a sign for the trail.

The mound covers 5 acres and is 28 feet tall. It consists primarily of oyster and whelk shells along with some deer and fish bones and a little primitive household refuse (potsherds and the like) discarded by ancient Indian civilizations who lived in the area. The trail circles around the base of part of the mound and goes up over one…