It’s Gorgeous Here!

What a blessing to have such a beautiful, private spot!

What a blessing to have such a beautiful, private spot!

The campground is filled to capacity tonight, but we hardly know we have neighbors.  The way the sites are terraced in our loop, we really don’t even see the people on either side unless we make an effort to look.

The water down from our campsite.

The water down from our campsite.

I very gingerly ventured down to the water behind our campsite today.  It took some careful planning to keep from losing my balance and skidding downhill on my rear end.  Climbing back, I would aim for a tree and rest against it for a few minutes, then lunge uphill to another.  I managed to zig-zag my way back up to the campsite that way.

While I was down there I saw a nice fish that I could almost see “Tinycamper’s frying plan” written on.  But he swam away before I could get my camera out.  And no way am I climbing back down there to try to catch him!

Another view from the water below our site.

Another view from the water below our site.

I am zonked today!  I didn’t realize how badly all the pre-camping scrubbing, building, and preparing had worn me out.  But today I took a glorious, long nap with the windows open and the fan humming me to sleep.  And I’ll probably be in bed by 10:00 tonight.  Such sweet sleep!

There are only two places in the campground where it’s not too steep to fish from the bank, so we’ll check them out tomorrow.

Our site looking up from the water

Our site looking up from the water

Sheba the camp dog

Sheba the camp dog

Sunny after a walk

Sunny after a walk

Fern on sun dappled hill

Fern on sun dappled hill

Another tent site

Another tent site

Moss and lichen

Moss and lichen

Closeup of lichen

Closeup of lichen

Some critter had egg for dinner.  I don't know what kind of egg it is.  The shell looks too thick for a bird egg.

Some critter had egg for dinner. I don’t know what kind of egg it is. The shell looks too thick for a bird egg.

Evidence of root-grubbing critter

Evidence of root-grubbing critter

Odd juxtaposition -- dead stump and plastic bullets in the primitive camping area.

Odd juxtaposition — dead stump and plastic bullets in the primitive camping area.

I found lots of mushrooms today, but thought that ganoderma (Reishi) would probably be the only one of general interest.

I found lots of mushrooms today, but thought that ganoderma (Reishi) would probably be the only one of general interest.

Feels Like Home

Palmettos and ferns

Palmettos and ferns

Primitive tent site

Primitive tent site

Cypress swamp

Cypress swamp

One of the water-only sites

One of the water-only sites

WordPress is redoing the way they handle photos so I have no control over the placement tonight.  Sorry.

Rarely do I feel like I am back “home” when I come to Florida.  But being out in rural north Florida with the palmettos, ferns, Spanish moss… and the old-Florida peace and quiet… stirred long-dormant memories today, and I finally experienced a strong sense of being home again.

Playground and swimming beach

Playground and swimming beach

This campground is just beautiful.  This morning a few of the rigs on the lakeside moved out and we could have grabbed one of them.  But I just love the way our site is situated, so was very content to stay here.

Ron drove to Live Oak to pick up our mail from Mom’s today and then he did some shopping.  So I got to pretend I was solo camping for a few hours!  What a lovely, peaceful interlude it was!

Since Gail converted her cargo van to a camper van, I have been fascinated by van dwellers.  We have one in the water only section of the campground.  I would love to strike up a conversation with him or her. 
I took a photo of his or her rig, but won’t post it since I didn’t get permission.
This evening I heard a loud rustling in the brush out in front of our site.  I got a flashlight, then spotted the small possum who was making all the fuss.  He took off before I could grab my camera!

Old Stumps on the Trail

Bend in the trail

 

Warning!  This post will be incredibly boring unless you are a hard core nature lover.  And maybe even if you are!

We went for another LONG walk today.  Aside from being a little achy, I feel more relaxed and stress-free than I have in a long time.

Rather than try to say something fascinating about a walk in brown Georgia woods in the winter, I’ll just post photos of things that intrigued me.

Fern

Ferns on fallen log

Half-eaten wild ginger leaves

Wild ginger leaf

This old stump looked like some kind of mythical sea creature to me

Convoluted tree base

Odd stump

Graceful old stump

Twin trees

Two more twin trees. They were everywhere. I've never seen so many anyplace else.

See-through tree. It had an eerie look to it.

Winged branches

 

 

Talladega National Forest

our Aliner campsite

Our campsite

We just got back from a week at Coleman Lake Campground in the Talladega National Forest in the Alabama hills.

The sites are spaced pretty far apart in a heavily wooded setting, so we felt like we had our own little hideaway in the woods.  A short trail led to the lake’s fishing, swimming, and trail areas.

The plant diversity is astounding.  I took

primeval looking forest

Primeval looking forest carpeted with bracken fern

hundreds of photos of plants suited to many different environments… from low,  almost primeval looking fern swamps to steep, hilly hardwood and pine forests.

A small swimming beach was usually host to children and young people early in the day.  Later, when the people left, Canada geese brought their families out for leisurely paddling around the lake.

A few people rowed out on the lake to fish while we were there.   And one couple went

hilly trail

Trail through the hills

frog gigging and came back with seventeen bullfrogs.  Ron chatted with them as they were skinning and cleaning the frog legs.

Can’t say that’s my cup of tea, but it is nice that there is an area where those who enjoy such things can pursue their interests.

Past the swimming beach on the lakeside trail, we took a side trail and stumbled upon a beautiful little hidden grotto complete with small waterfall.  Screened by rock walls and a profusion of tall flowering shrubs and trees, we felt as though we had stumbled upon a secret hideaway.

hidden grotto with small waterfall

Hidden grotto with small waterfall

Coleman Lake swimming beach

Coleman Lake swimming beach

For the first time ever, we had camping equipment stolen this trip.  Saturday night (with the campground full of weekend campers) our Weber Baby Q gas grill disappeared.  We went into town Sunday to replace it, but couldn’t afford another Baby Q, and I didn’t like the cheap, flimsy model that Walmart had available.  So we returned to the campground without one.

Then Sunday evening the camp host stopped by our site carrying our grill!

“Bet you’re glad to see this!” they announced.

They had found it abandoned against a tree in the overflow parking area.  Another camper told them ours had been stolen, so they knew who it belonged to.

I had been pretty sick the first few days we were out, and the frequent rain was starting to wear on my nerves.  But I bounced back and felt a lot better so I could enjoy hiking.

And…. we found a huge amount of chanterelles!  And they wouldn’t have sprouted without all that rain.

I’ll save the chanterelle pictures for the next post.

pipsissewa

Sweet little pipsissewa (medicinal) was blooming all over the forest.

tiny islands

Little micro islands are forming on a submerged log in the lake

unknown showy white flowers

These strikingly beautiful shrubs with large, showy flowerheads were all over in the lower areas. I later identified them as Alabama's state wildflower, the oak leaf hydrangea. They are gorgeous!

common milkweed

Common milkweed were in full bloom. We only found one unopened flowerhead with the mild, broccoli flavored buds.

water arum

Water arum - wild calla

white bell flowers

Another small tree that I was not familiar with. The flowers are like small white bells. I later identified it as a sourwood tree.

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