Last Day at Modoc

Last night's sunset

Last night’s sunset

We will be leaving tomorrow morning.  This is one of a small handful of our trips that I will be glad to see end.  It’s running an average of 8 degrees cooler at home.

Today is overcast and sweltering.  The people next to us had reservations through tomorrow, but they left today.

A little island out in the lake under gray skies.

A little island out in the lake under gray skies.

The only wildlife, other than birds, that we have seen here was one gray fox.  He was strangely unafraid of us, and in fact followed us for a short distance on the road a couple of times.  My first thought was rabies.  I meant to mention it to the host, but forgot.  Will try to report it on the way out tomorrow.

There were a lot of children running around over the weekend, and if it was going to cause trouble, I would have expected it to have already done so.  Ron suggested that it might have been one that someone tried to make a pet of when it was a baby, then released it when they discovered it wouldn’t domesticate.

Closeup of the island.

Closeup of the island.

In any case, it’s not normal behavior for a fox.

Anyway, our camping season is probably over until cooler weather arrives.

 

Fantastic Forms Down by the Water

 

Huge tree kept from toppling into the lake by rocky supports.

Precarious twins

Precarious twins

It’s still sweltering here.  Far too hot to do anything energetic.  So I’ve meandered around amusing myself by searching out intriguing and unusual natural formations.

Many of the trees at waters’ edge just about have the supporting earth washed away.  It looks like the Army Corps of Engineers has put rocks around some of the more precarious ones to help support them.  But every time a jet ski flies by, strong waves crash relentlessly against them, taking a bit more of the red clay support.  And leaving even more fantastic forms behind.

This one can't last long.  It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

This one can’t last long. It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

We have had nice, strong breezes today as the ever-threatened, seldom-materialized thunderstorms pass us by.

One thing this trip has taught us is not to ever camp in South Carolina in the summertime again!

Ron brought home superb Mexican take-out for dinner this evening.

I’m still drawing plans for a camper van.  I am so itching to tackle that project!  Hopefully next year!

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Interlocking roots

Interlocking roots

Odd trees on the swamp side

Odd trees on the swamp side

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Growing at water's edge.  I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up.  :)

Growing at water’s edge. I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up. 🙂

Sunlight  glinting on water

Sunlight glinting on water

Thunderclouds passing over

Thunderclouds passing over

 

 

 

The Heart of Summertime

Tenters on the far bank

Tenters on the other bank

Cloud cover and a steady breeze made exploring the woods a pleasure today.  Amazingly, we have not picked up a single tick! Yet, anyway!

A variety of blueberries or huckleberries.

A variety of blueberries or huckleberries.

I took Sunny for a short, slow, old-doggie-paced walk this morning.  He soon tired, so we headed back.  Then I took Sheba for a longer, brisker, more interesting walk.

I found all kinds of little wonders to photograph.  However, in transferring them to my computer, I lost over 30 of them.  My favorites, of course!

I think it might be time to start thinking about getting a new camera.  I promised myself one for Christmas, but I might not make it  that long.

Darn!  😀

Wild muscadine grape buds

Wild muscadine grape buds

Greenbrier berries

Greenbrier berries

Smilax flower buds

Smilax flower buds

Sunny after his walk

Sunny after his walk

Sheba exploring

Sheba exploring

Last night's thunderstorm blew all of the trumpet flowers off their vines.  None are left in the trees.

Last night’s thunderstorm blew all of the trumpet flowers off their vines.

Greenbrier thorns and tendrils

Greenbrier thorns and tendrils

 

 

Still Beautiful; Still Hot

Our sunset last night.  The color was not enhanced -- it really was this gorgeous.

Our sunset last night. The color was not enhanced — it really was this gorgeous.

Although it’s 8 degrees hotter here than it is at home, we are managing to enjoy it.  There’s usually a nice breeze off the lake.

There is water across the street behind us, too.  We are surrounded on three sides by water.

There is water across the street behind us, too. We are surrounded on three sides by water.

Yesterday I sat outside under the awning doing crosswords and admiring the million scintillating sun sparkles on the blue water.  Waves gurgled onto shore and slapped up against the rocks.  A few brave birds, ignoring the heat of the day, sang in the deep woods around me.

Although this is a man made lake, I dreamed of Indians centuries ago paddling their canoes around the point.  The deep woods on the far shore beckoned mysteriously.

As evening fell, a lone, far-away whipporwill called.

Sheba.  The sun is giving her black fur red highlights.

Sheba. The sun is giving her black fur red highlights.

We spend a couple of hours in the hottest part of the day inside in the air conditioning doing crosswords, surfing, reading or napping.  We can’t do anything too energetic or we will overheat, so we mosey around — and when we get too hot, we head inside and cool off for a while.

In case any of you northerners ever wondered why southerners move and talk more slowly  sometimes that’s why.  It’s an adaptation to the extreme heat and humidity.  It was a lot more pronounced before everyone got air conditioning.

My precious little aging Sunny.  He is having enough trouble going on walks that I will have to get him a doggie stroller soon.

My precious little aging Sunny. He is having enough trouble going on walks that I will have to get him a doggie stroller soon.

So I can’t say that our trip is exciting.  It’s not.  But it’s beautiful and we are glad we are here.

Modoc, SC in the Hot, Hot Summertime

Looking toward the left from under our awning

Looking toward the left from under our awning

When we were planning this camping trip, we originally wanted to go to Black Rock Mountain State Park in the NE Georgia mountains.  It’s a lot cooler there.

But we are not experienced mountain drivers.  And there is a winding, twisting 2 mile gravel road to the park at a steep grade.  The park’s website says that only those who are experienced at driving narrow mountain roads should attempt it.

Looking toward the right from under our awning

Looking toward the right from under our awning

So that scared us off.

Next, I had wanted to go to Vogel State Park at the base of Blood Mountain.  I wanted to climb the mountain again and see how much harder it was than when I did it in 2003.  I remember it being an easy climb.  I also thought it would be so much fun to see Neel’s Gap again, which was my first supply stop on my Appalachian Trail attempt back then.

But Vogel did not have reservations available for the time I wanted.

The water seems to go on forever.

The water seems to go on forever.

So we scrambled around for a substitute destination.  We had camped here at Modoc when we first got our Aliner 8 years ago.  I remembered it being beautiful.  I also knew that South Carolina in June would be hot and humid — and is it ever!

Modoc COE is an older park. All of the sites are pull-thrus.  But, at least in our loop, they were designed for the size rigs that were popular when the campground was built.  Our truck and Casita are a perfect fit for them.  Big rigs would be out of luck — at least on this loop.

We are having to take precautions due to the extreme heat here.  Yesterday after we got set up, my face was beet red.  Then my head started throbbing.  The dogs desperately needed a walk, so I took them on a short stroll on the shady side of the road.

When I got back my head was pounding with a splitting headache.  I went inside and took something for the headache and slept for a couple of hours.

A huge luna moth on our back door the night before we left.

A huge luna moth on our back door the night before we left.

Since then, we are moving slowly.  I bring the dogs in every hour for a half hour or so to cool down.  Then it’s gentle, easy movements to keep from getting overheated.

Thunderstorms are predicted later in the week.  Although they will raise the humidity, the clouds will obscure the sun which should help keep us from being steamed quite so badly.

But it is STILL a LOT better than being at home!

weather

FDR State Park

our big pull through site

Our big pull through site at FDR State Park

I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I loved camping at FDR better than I did at the more beautiful and spacious Amity Campground.  It’s odd because Amity had huge, expansive water views, while FDR’s lake is more like a large pond.

Lakeside tent sites

Lakeside tent sites

FDR is old, and maybe that’s why I like it so much.  It has a comfortably worn, down home feeling about it.  Our deeply shaded site suited us perfectly.  I felt so happy and relaxed there.

Yesterday afternoon the rain moved in, so we cocooned with games and internet until the thunderstorms started.  Then I got off the computer.

We had an '85 Scamp for a neighbor

We had an ’85 Scamp for a neighbor

Right after dinner, Sheba started whimpering like she had to go to the bathroom.  So I bundled up in rain jacket and flip flops and took her for a walk in the downpour, through the water running in the streets, while thunder boomed and lightning flashed all around us.

Sheba didn’t have to go.  She just wanted a walk.  She thoroughly enjoyed it.  And while I would never admit it to Ron, (lest I lose my martyr’s halo for walking Sheba in a storm) I also thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

The Scamp owners' son-in-law was there in an '86 Scotty.

The Scamp owners’ son-in-law was there in an ’86 Scotty.

It got cold overnight!  It went from the high 80’s on Wednesday to a damp, chilly morning in the high 50’s.  I even turned the furnace on to take the chill out of the Casita, and Ron and I both wore light jackets until around noon.

We got home around 3:00 to discover that the little veggies in my Earth Boxes are thriving.  When we drove up, Ron commented, “We can have salad for dinner!”

Blueberry flowers down by the campground bridge

Blueberry flowers down by the campground bridge

And we, of course, are already dreaming about our next trip!

Path around the lake on the cabin side

Path around the lake on the cabin side

Mountain laurel near the cabins

Mountain laurel near the cabins

Small island in the lake on the cabin side

Small island in the lake on the cabin side

Sheba watching another dog pass

Sheba watching another dog pass

 

 

 

Last Day at Whitetail Ridge

Ron and Sheba and the little island that looks like Tom Sawyer ought to appear on his raft at any moment.

Ron and Sheba and the little island that looks like Tom Sawyer ought to appear on his raft at any moment.

Today is chilly.  Ron is gone to town to search out a good take out dinner.  He took Sunny with him.

I’m sitting inside the Casita watching the reflection of the sunset turn the sky and the water a serene mauve.

Earlier Sheba and I went for a walk.  I deliberately left the camera behind, wanting to soak up the scenery and Sheba’s companionship without distraction.

We sauntered uphill and downhill, enjoying the play of light on the trees and over the water.  Noting sunbeams that turned the brown carpet of fallen leaves to golden magic. Inhaling the faint scent of a distant campfire.  The almost deserted campground was completely silent.

We detoured to the water’s edge so Sheba could wade and lap up her fill of water.

I felt as though I were saying goodbye to something significant, but couldn’t put my finger on anything definitive.  Maybe just saying goodbye to another autumn as we head into winter.

When we got back, I was warm enough from the walk to sit outside with Sheba for a little while.  I treated her to a dinner of her favorite canned dog food instead of the usual mix of kibble and canned.

Then I watched the setting sun blaze through the leaves, seemingly illuminating them from within.

Now the mauve is fading from the water and twilight descends.

It’s been a beautiful trip.

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.

New Window Vent & Camping Preps

The new Window Maxx vent

The new Window Maxx vent

I got the new vent for the Casita’s dinette window installed yesterday.  Today we got a gusher of a downpour, so I was able to test the trailer with the roof fan vent open under its cap, and the rear and dinette windows open with their Window Maxx vents.

I was thrilled that not a drop of rain got into the trailer!  So we now have excellent ventilation without hookups, even in the rain.

We’re planning to go to Lake Allatoona Wednesday.  I’m not sure which campground yet.  But some of the campgrounds keep waterfront sites open for walk-ins.  And we should be able to get a nice one if we arrive in the middle of the week.

Ron finishing the mowing so we can go camping

Ron finishing the mowing so we can go camping

It’s going to be hot.  But, like Ron said, it will be hot here, too.  Partially cloudy days mixed with intermittent thunderstorms are predicted.  So at least the sun won’t be blasting us full time.  As long as we have a breeze, we will be okay.

We are so excited to be getting out!  And Sheba will have a lake to splash in!

I took the dogs to the vet for checkups Friday.  Sheba is doing great.  I was afraid Sunny wasn’t doing well because he has lost two pounds and sometimes has trouble standing.  But the vet said the weight loss is no cause for concern.  He said the trouble standing is due to arthritis in his hips.  So we are going to try supplements and hope they help enough that he will not need arthritis meds for a while.

 

 

 

Fish Spawning Bed, Waterbird & Home

Fish wallowing out a spawning nest in the mud

Fish wallowing out a spawning nest in the mud

I had been anxious to get home to deep clean the Casita and let the dogs run.

waterbirdBut this morning, when I walked out on the deck, I did not want to leave.  We had our whole loop to ourselves and the entire campground was almost empty.

While I was sipping my coffee, I heard a tremendous splashing in the lake.  Then another.  Then another.  I took a closer look and realized that fish — what kind I didn’t know then — were fanning the mud at the edge of the lake to make depressions in the mud for spawning beds.  They would work furiously for a short time, then swim off — I guessed to rest — then they would be back to furiously wallowing out their nest.

I tried several times to catch them in the act, but was never fast enough at getting my camera aimed and focused.   But right before we left, I thought, It must be about time for them to come back for another digging session.  So I had my camera ready — and, this time, caught a photo.

A fuzzy photo of one of the fish who was working on making the bed

A fuzzy photo of one of the fish who was working on making the bed

Another camper walked by while I was taking photos.  He told me that the fish were carp.

I also had wondered why I hadn’t seen any waterbirds while we were here.  Then I noticed one, just one, probably attracted by all the splashing the fish were making.  So I got a shot of that, too.

I felt like I had been given a gift to make leaving easier.

We were only an hour and a half from home.  When we got home and I saw the yard, I was just sick.  Our grass is knee high, and the place looks like it had been abandoned for months!

We definitely have our work cut out for us.  But it was so worth it to get away, visit family, feel sea breezes, get a Florida sunburn, then relax by the lake for a few more days.

Another bed-making photo

Another bed-making photo

 

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