It sounds like an adventure novel, or maybe an old movie: “The Jungle Trail.” An exotic locale and swashbuckling action are surely promised. Robert Louis Stevenson would approve, and so would Errol Flynn.
For Vero Beach residents, this exotic locale is close to home. And as for swashbuckling action, well, there was certainly derring-do involved in preserving this historic pathway.
Jungle Trail is located on Orchid Island, and it goes back to the late 19th century, when much of the area was a subtropical wilderness. During that time, a German sea captain named Frank Forster settled on the island. Perhaps feeling like an explorer, he decided to choose a name for the island that was his new home. Inspired by the wild orchids that grew in the live oaks, the weather-beaten sailor chose the poetic name of Orchid Island.
Forster homesteaded there and also sold land to the Michael family, who were likewise important early settlers. In addition, Capt. Forster established a post office, bringing the frontier island a connection to the outside world. A dusty dirt road led from the captain’s post office to the edge of the water — and that was the beginning of the Jungle Trail.