Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/9/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

Yesterday, I wrote about Fort Mountain State Park. Cloudland Canyon is just a short drive away, so we took a day trip over. This state park, just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee and on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, boasts stunning views of craggy hills and waterfalls along three beautiful trails.

Two features are especially memorable at Cloudland Canyon: waterfalls and lots of steps.

Sometimes there’s a price for beauty. Imminent danger awaited me at every turn …

For some reason (the high altitude?), Robert wanted perfect strangers to take his picture at this state park.

“Robert, look at all the steps up this way! Come on up, slow poke!”

Robert’s response …

Thank you, State of Georgia, for establishing and preserving our Sensational State Parks!

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/7/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree and Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

We stopped by Reed Bingham, just north of Valdosta, on our way back home from a trip to west Georgia. Named after the man responsible for securing the land to establish the park, it is a feast for nature lovers, with hiking trails meandering down sandy paths and through seemingly never ending waves of saw palmetto and wire grass, all underneath my beloved, scattered Longleaf.

We actually saw a gopher tortoise, but he scooted down his hole before we could take a picture.

Quiet and peaceful.

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/6/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

Our first pandemic Georgia State Park trip, back in March of 2020, was a simple weekday excursion an hour and a half up the road to Magnolia Springs State Park near Millen. We reasoned that few people would be around during the week, and we were right. We had the park almost to ourselves.

We liked the park (and getting out of the house) so much that this short venture started our recurring overnight pattern of heading to a park on Monday, renting a cabin and returning before the weekend crowd arrived.

TIB (Truth in Blogging): Today’s countdown post is sorta long, so you might want to grab a snack and change into comfortable shoes. I’m incorporating three Magnolia Springs trips into one post.

The park website: “Beautiful Magnolia Springs State Park is known for its crystal clear springs flowing 7,000,000 gallons per day, and a boardwalk spans the cool water, allowing visitors to look for alligators, turtles and other wildlife near the springs.”

“Yeah, right, they’re just saying that about the big bad alligators,” I thought haughtily, standing in the sun by the springs, staring out at the water, daydreaming about our upcoming picnic lunch and my special sandwich.

Oh. My. Goodness …

Jeff Bezos couldn’t pay me enough to fish, feed or approach.

The Longleaf Pine’s distinctive orangish, peely bark.

As I I have mentioned before, Robert and I love the Longleaf Pine, which excessive logging has cut to the brink of extinction, but is now making a bit of a comeback. Magnolia Springs has quite a number of majestic, mature specimens. (And so unlike with the alligators, I am simply not afraid of the Longleaf.)

I LOVE hiking through a forest replete with the beauty and aroma of Longleaf Pine.

The Longleaf pine cones are huge.

Oh, here’s my new walking stick. I MEAN HIKING STICK!

Our cabin (and the goings-on inside and out) at Magnolia Springs. Come on in.

And looky here, it’s me leading a little impromptu (and free!) “Everyone is Welcome—Morning Yoga and Mental Cleanse Workshop.”

Even Robert didn’t show. He chose (non-supportingly) to sleep in.

But here he is, gay-ly, pridefully starting a fire.

I need to end this post, don’t I? It’s getting out of hand.

We really do love our nearby Magnolia Springs State Park.

Well, most of it.

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/3/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

High Falls State Park is a naturally beautiful oasis along the Towaliga River just off I-75 between Macon and Atlanta, near Jackson, Georgia.

The water was a bit muddy the day we visited. (But then again, I’m a bit muddy some days as well.)

Here’s a one-minute “meditation” (we’ll call it). Close your eyes and listen to the cleansing sounds of nature …

Moving Peace.

At one point I paused by the water and chatted with … an animal. It looked like a camel. I think it was a camel.

See? Don’t you agree?

It never answered back. And Robert would have no part of it.

High Falls was just a short stopover on our way home from Atlanta, so we want to go back for a longer trek one of these days.

(I hope the camel will still be there. Robert assured me, with a bit of an attitude, that it “wood” still be there.)

Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/1/21 — Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

Well before the pandemic, Robert and I had started exploring our state’s 48 State Parks and 16 Historic Sites. Georgia has an absolutely dizzying array of parks, from the North Georgia mountains, to the piedmont, on down to the coastal plain, where we live in Savannah.

After months waiting out the pandemic, and coming down with severe house-stir-craziness, we decided to venture out again … experimentally.

What a glorious time we had, getting reacquainted with or being introduced to our state’s natural splendors.

We would reserve a cabin for a Monday and stay several days before the weekend traffic arrived.

Oh, btw, here’s our nerdy state park magnet board …

Now that December is here, and we are on our Countdown to Christmas, Robert and I have put up our Travel Tree. What’s a Travel Tree, you ask? It’s a Christmas tree, with each ornament from one of our travels over the years.

For this new blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” I plan to briefly highlight one aspect of a different Georgia State Park each day till the Big Day.

Starting with one of our favorite, Tugaloo State Park, way up in Northeast Georgia near Lavinia.

Perhaps our greatest joy about this park was our very own private dock down the hill from our cabin. The dock extended out onto beautiful Lake Hartwell on the South Carolina border.

And here’s an absolutely pitiful pic (thankfully dark) of me shivering in the morning cold with my coffee.

And here’s one of Robert, inexplicably taking a picture of my coffee.

State Park Happiness!

Joyful First Day of Countdown to You!