From the looks of my plans for the rest of 2023, I’m done with Georgia so here’s a little summary post of the three weeks I spent exploring the western side of Georgia, featuring some of my favorite photo moments.
After escaping Florida, I was driving down a back road when an 18-wheeler flagged me over to the side. I was anxiously checking my mirrors to see if the trailer door was open or something had gotten caught on something but I couldn’t see anything. Turned out that big bump in the road a mile or so back had given my old dump hose the opportunity to make a break for it. This actually isn’t the first time it’s happened, either! I thanked him for letting me know, but on a two-lane road with no shoulders on either side, no way was I going back for a 3-year old dump hose! Now I have a shiny new one, thanks to the Walmart on the way to the campground.
Reed Bingham State Park
I stayed here a few nights a few years ago and thought it was a nice stop. I wasn’t wrong, except that this time, they had torn up the one loop and the construction workers were really going at it: beeps and thumps and engines all day long. Sigh. Luckily, I was only staying one night this round, so I didn’t have to listen to all of that for days on end. I walked around in the late afternoon and had fun taking photos of these rocking chairs.
The camp hosts were very kind, and let me stay in an empty spot till an hour after checkout time, waiting out the storm that had rolled through in the early morning. On my way by 2PM, with just a few sprinkles on the windshield. Good plan that worked out well.
Kolomoki Mounds State Park
Less than a hundred miles and I was almost to Kolomoki State Park. And then the GPS decided I should definitely take that red dirt road to the park. I’ve been down red dirt roads in Georgia before and it doesn’t work out very well. So this time I kept going on the paved road till Garmin figured out a better (and paved!) route. Pro tip: First Kolomoki Road is the one to take to get into the park from the south.
Once I was there, it was lovely. I had a site on the lake for three days out of six and enjoyed the sunset view. Lots of good trails in this park, so I did a fair amount of short hikes (Pathways hiking post). I didn’t paddle, though, because it was either too cold or too windy, mostly the latter. Saw some lovely mushrooms on one hike, making good use of a downed tree; the circle of life in action.
One thing back roads in Georgia have is a lot of old barns, some of them still standing, like this one. There’s something about an old, broken down barn that makes me think of my Kentucky ancestors and wonder if they had barns like these.
R. Schaefer Heard Park
This US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) campground was huge, three loops and much of those were lakeside enough to launch a kayak from. I paddled a few days, when the wind and/or rain let up enough to go out, and enjoyed my explorations. And the last two days I enjoyed lovely sunset views (Golden blog post). The first buds of Spring were making an appearance and I enjoyed spotting the eastern redbud branches on my walks around the campground.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
This is another one where the approach matters. It’s easier to come in the back way, unhitch in your site, and *then* take the steep, winding road up to the visitor center to check in. I was only here for a few nights, just long enough to see Warm Springs and the FDR Little White House. I felt both old and overeducated when I stood next to someone two years younger than me and knew all of this but he didn’t know any of it. Yes, the FDR years were responsible for many of the social services we take for granted now, programs designed to protect the working class and ensure a basic standard of living. CCC, TVA, SEC, FCC, FHA, WPA, and Social Security. Those programs helped my grandparents’s small family weather the worst of the Great Depression and provided a cushion in their old age.
Indian Springs State Park
It’s not just buds that let you know Spring has started in the South; the yellow pollen devil is everywhere, caking up on the windows and on the hood of my truck. By the time I got to Indian Springs, I gave up on trying to wipe it off and just let it pile up. Eventually the rain will wash it off.
My favorite thing about this park was the golden hour light on this one section of the lakeshore. I would walk to the far loop and down a short hillside to a fishing dock just for this view every evening, and sometimes the light was just perfect.
One last sign of Spring: wisteria vines, exploding with color and scent. They’re everywhere right now, and I love the contrast of spring green and light purple.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(Second Inaugural Address, 1937)