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COUNTY: Alachua County
LOCATION DETAILS: San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
NEAREST TOWN: Alachua
NEAREST ROAD: 13201 Progress Blvd.
OBSERVED: I was riding my mountain bike in the forest. I had been climbing a while so I pulled off the trail to rest. That is when I looked down and seen these huge foot prints that appeared to be barefoot. I took pictures. I wear an 8 1/2 women. These look to be about a 17. It was also off the trail which made me think that was even odder. I did hear stomping noise out there which I believe were wild boar in the distance. There was a time later that I smelled something nasty. I never saw anything but those prints freaked me out a little bit.
ALSO NOTICED: No not that I have not already told you.
OTHER WITNESSES: By myself but I have pictures with markers.
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 10:45 am moist wet ground. Overcast prints seemed to be about a day old.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest, wet some swamp areas and prairie areas as well.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Marian Gant:
I found the witness to be cooperative and sincere during the interview.
The witness was riding on a mountain bike trail in a remote part of the San Felasco Hammock Preserve northwest of Gainesville, Florida. The trail passed through woods, pine forest, and prairie with four-foot tall grass in some places. It had rained a day or two before and the ground covering was still moist.
She had just ridden a section that climbed up a hill and wanted to rest. She pulled off into a small circle clear of brush by a tree next to the trail so she would not block it. She looked down and spotted large barefoot tracks sunk 1/2" into the ground.
The prints were in a 6' x 7' cluster next to the tree. It looked like something had come out of the brush, rested by the tree, and then went around it back into the brush. The longest stride was approximately 36".
The tracks looked about a day old. The witness estimated they were 17" long by using her size 8 ½ shoe and sunglasses as a comparison. She could see toe impressions with none of the telltale signs that "footy" sneakers leave behind.
It struck the witness as curious that someone with bare feet would choose to walk through the brush instead of using the trail.
The witness also heard a thumping sound during this time. She was focused on the tracks and didn't pay attention thinking it was just hogs rutting the ground. Since then, she realized the sound was of something hitting the ground, not digging it up.
The San Felasco Hammock Preserve covers 7,000 acres with a wide variety of habitats and elevations. There are areas of pine, forest, swamp, marshes and sand hill. Only the northern third of the preserve is open to bikes and horses. The remaining two thirds is limited to hiking only. A power line right-of-way cuts through the middle.
There is an abundant supply of fresh water from ponds, lakes, steep head springs, and three creeks that flow into the park. Black bear have been seen along with deer, hog, and coyote.
Development has begun to isolate the preserve, but there is still enough coverage to move east to more rural areas if the traveler is careful.
Photos the witness took of the prints:
The witness agreed to meet Investigator R. Monteith and myself at the preserve to show us the location of the prints. One section of the trail is on a ridge that overlooks open fields with winding paths for both bikes and horses. We saw many deer grazing with little fear of people.
Photo taken of the trail:
About BFRO Investigator Marian Gant:
Computer consultant and web developer, Marian has experience working with computer graphics and digital manipulation. She has attended the 2009 Central Florida Expedition, the 2011 North Florida Expedition and several private expeditions.