Collier County High Point Trip Report

Author: Dave Covill

Beckie & I cruised to see the relatives in Florida over the weekend. We flew in & out of Miami (cheap fare) and drove across the peninsula to Naples / Marco Island. We piled into the car and drove over to the mounds on the south tip of Marco Island at an old settlement (now ritzy neighborhood) called Caxambas. It's at the south tip of Marco, before the road crosses to Goodland on the mainland.

We found the HP easily, and it is vacant land for sale at the moment. (Can you say Charles Mound?) It is very overgrown with palm trees and scrub brush, but there is evidence of an old foundation there. There is a monument at the bottom of the hill at the intersection that reads "Indian Hill 51' (coincides w/ topo +/-) highest point of land in SW Florida" (probably true for ~75 miles north or east).

I researched this at the library, and the bottom line is, there were ancient sand dunes in the vicinity, and the Native Indians (Arasaki or something like that) built houses on them, and threw clam shells out the back door from ~6000 BC to ~300 years ago. These shell mounds, or middens, form a long ridge from 20 to 40+' high for a mile or two in the vicinity, and at other places to the north towards Naples and Ft. Myers.

Around 1900 the first settlers in the areas brought in dredges, harvested clams and oysters by the ton, and shipped them to Miami. They added their refuse to these mounds, although I don't think they added too much to the height, just kind of increased the breadth of the mounds.

Some archeaological digs have found the mounds to be relatively uniform sand and shells mixed with artifacts and junk from thousands of years of everyday Indian life. There was a hotel built at or near the HP in the early part of this century apparently.

OK, then on to Andy's previously determined Collier County HP, 30 miles NE inland by groves and swamps. There is an area of about 3 sq miles bounded by 40'+ contour, and 3 spot elevations of 41', 41', and 42'. We drove through this are on dirt roads and a highway, and it's very flat, although a case could be made for the 42' spot to be the HP.

Bottom line: interpretation is needed to decide which is the HP, and the other ought to get a mention as the next line down in Andy's book.