I sought somewhere new to adventure to, not knowing this spot would be so close to home. For those who know me, they know that I am always on the go. I am wanting to do something outdoors and not be trapped by the every day monotonous tasks that seem to overwhelm so many. A house is needed, a car, a job, but we need to find a place to live, really live. My place to live is outdoors, I seem to thrive and come alive like a Daylily opening up and allowing all others to see what it is capable of. I, well, I seem to bloom when I too am outside.
I noticed some postings of this little park out in Winder, just over 1/2 hour from my home and decided I needed to check this state park out. I loaded my faithful traveling peach mobile up with my mountains bikes and kayaks and ventured out to this Georgia State Park. I knew check in was at 1:00 pm but was aware that a lot of the state parks allowed earlier check in if the sites were available. So I arrived and went into the visitor center at the front of the park where a slightly stern young woman asked if she could help. She didn’t really want to but those words came rolling off her tongue. So I said I was there to check in at which I was told check in is at 1 and you can come back. I asked if I could just go ahead and kayak and she told me if you have your state park pass. Well of course I have that, I live the state parks.
So, I went along my weary way and just happened (not by chance-mind you) to turn into the campground 1 area which had 4 empty spots open. Well, I thought I will just set up here so I can jump in and Kayak. I found a rather agreeable spot that was nestled along the waters edge. I decided to set up camp and then venture back up when it was 1:00. I walked the waters edge noticing the small fish against the grassy shore and the turtles sunbathing on the fallen tree floating in the water. I was delighted in finding such a great campsite. Needless to say I explored the sites around and thought surely campsite #11 was by far the best little gem to have at this park. I raced up to the office at 1:00 and had to wait on two other families all checking in and then I hurried back to the site.
I set up to play bocce ball with some family members and then we had a delightful cookout all the while overlooking the water. We decided to take the kayaks out and do a little fishing and catching the sun as it was setting. The sunset was not disappointing at all, in fact there aren’t many sunsets as great as a Georgia sunset. The fish on the other hand were not cooperating, there wasn’t even a bite. We headed back to our campsite as the moon rise occurred and got ready to turn in for the night. The campground was quiet and peaceful as an owl flew overhead as we were preparing to call it a night.
The following day consisted of more kayaking the lake and exploring each little cove and every fallen tree for hiding fish. I glided effortlessly over the still water where there was no wake. It was picture perfect with reflections of the clouds and trees evident in the still mirror-like water. I spotted many water fowl including blue herons, wood ducks, geese, a green heron, and a king fisher. There were ample turtles sunbathing on fallen trees, one such tree had nearly 20 turtles clambering on it trying to warm themselves in the warm sunshine. We explored the area down past the special needs camp and encountered a marsh area that had a small creek winding through it, another amicable sight. We went to the other side of the lake and paddled past the beach area which was full of boisterous little ones and their families. After passing the beach area you come to an area where towering power lines cross the lake resembling mini Eiffel Towers. After passing these monstrous things you come to a long bridge which you can pass beneath and then head to the rest of the lake area where once again tall grasses exist due to the drought Georgia has sustained over the years. The water level is beginning to encroach into the grassy areas, thus reclaiming its once watery shores. After spending most of the day kayaking I returned to my little spot and sipped some cinnamon tea and sat beneath the awning watching over my week lake retreat. I ate my meals and dinner in my lake home and then returned to kayaking the water. When finished I caught the last glimpse of sunshine as it began to descend behind the trees. It had been another great day.
A new day is another gift from God to catch the sunrise is like awaking to a new surprise. I hurriedly dress and don my biking attire and am ready to hit the trails. I wipe out my helmet which I’ve left near my bike and a few spiders have decided to make it their webbing place. I then power up with a cup of hot java and a pack of crackers. One last thing, I check my tire pressure, all ready to go. We begin the trail to the right of the campsites cutting through the Yurt area and heading towards the dam. The ride is a 7 mile loop. I pass several hikers and see a few bikers off in the distance buzzing quickly between the trees. The trail is cleared well and has some spotty roots, some rocky areas, ups and downs, but for the most time isn’t too daunting. There are a couple of steep rooty climbs where I hadn’t gotten enough momentum and decide to walk my bike uphill. I cross over dirt roads and a couple paved sections, at one point I get a little off course. I follow the yellow swatches but they go two different ways, I decide to take the swatch closest to the lake. That was a mistake, it leads primarily through the disc golf course, I am however able to cut uphill to the correct location.(I road the yellow trail again and turned left and headed up hill which took me onto the road for a short distance then back onto the mountain bike loop. (If you happen onto the yellow blaze trail follow the beach sign then at the split head up hill.) I finished the trail and was a little overheated, but I downed a few cups of water and took some aspirin to try and ward off any headache. The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the beach and kayaking the lake.
If kayaking and biking weren’t enough the trails for hiking were great. We wandered through the woods looking and snapping pictures of all the different wildflowers. There were an abundance from purples, yellows, white, and orange. We spotted some wildlife, from birds stalking fish on the shores to bunnies in search for a cool hiding place to snakes and turtles coming out to warm themselves. The trails had many hidden gems to see in nature. I enjoyed seeing all the different berries and mushrooms. The walk was peaceful and allowed my mind to wander and to consider life’s important issues like why do I have to return home and how did I never come to this park before that is so close to home.
I captured the last few sunsets and continued my exploration of this park as my week and a half came to a close. I even ventured to the beach for a short time to ensure I didn’t miss out on this other amenity the park offered. There were additional things to do that I opted not to. They offer basketball, tennis, mini golf, and disc golf. If I had younger children this may have been something we would have considered doing but with all the natural outdoor options we didn’t feel inclined to participate in these ventures. The day had come and was all to soon, we loaded up the kayaks and bikes, disconnected the Traveling Peach, and headed home.
Time to get back to the monotonous things in life till my next adventure!