High Falls State Park

The Casita at High Falls State Park in the Lake Campground

The Casita at High Falls State Park in the Lake Campground

Wednesday, December 19

We are at another of our very favorite stopping over points between Florida and home tonight.  We booked two nights to postpone going home as long as possible!

Ditch by entrance to campsite

Ditch by entrance to campsite

High Falls has two campgrounds — the larger, more modern River Campground, and the smaller, older Lake Campground.  The Lake Campground can only accommodate small rigs.  But it is so much more beautiful!

Backing into a site here is a real challenge.  The sites are laid out perpendicular to the road, so you have to back in at a 45 degree angle.  And there are DEEP ditches on each side of the driveway — AND also across the street where the truck has to swing off the road to navigate the trailer’s sharp turn.  I must have gotten out of the truck a dozen times to make sure I didn’t plunge into the abyss!

Ditch across street in our truck's turning radius

Ditch across street in our truck’s turning radius

Later Ron drove the truck to the store and he had a hard time just getting the truck backed in.  So I felt quite a sense of accomplishment at getting in here with the trailer.

We are alone in the campground except for the camp hosts who are out of sight behind a hill.  We have a view of the lake through the trees and are surrounded by woods.  This is the first time we’ve felt like we were really camping since we left home a month ago.

The sunset tonight

The sunset tonight

We got here too late to visit the falls this afternoon.  By the time we got set up, Ron went to the store and I fixed dinner, it was dark.

The night is cool, but not cold, and it’s lit by a very bright half moon.  It’s special here!

We are finally at peace with the decision to find a new home for Sheba.  Ron is taking pain meds for his sore shoulder.  And today Sheba scared me by barreling up a hill with me hanging onto the leash for dear life.  And this evening she whimpered so pathetically at being tied up — yet again.  Our little girl deserves better.

Sunset reflecting off Casita

Sunset reflecting off Casita

The world is changing.  Since we are camped at a semi remote site, I’m a little concerned about telling the world, “We’re old and we are camped all alone RIGHT HERE.”  So I’m doing this post tonight, but will save it as a draft and publish it after we leave.

Sheba -- tied up again :(

Sheba — tied up again 😦

Thursday, December 20

This WordPress template won’t let me put today’s entry beneath yesterday’s photos, so that’s why it’s here.

Today was rainy.  We only went outside to walk the dogs and take the trash to the dumpster, except for driving the truck closer to the falls so I could get a photo for the blog.  It was raining too hard to walk that far.

The water is unbelievably low now.  The first time we came, there was rushing water and white water rapids beneath the falls and way downstream.

Then, the last few times we were here, the water was very low, but nothing like it is now.

High Falls on a dreary, rainy day.  Only in Georgia would these be called high!

High Falls on a dreary, rainy day. Only in Georgia would these be called high!

Now all you see is black rock with a few little streams of water in the crevices between the rocks.  The scarcity of water combined with the wet, gray day made the falls a dreary sight.

Amazingly, due to the way I have the Casita arranged with separate twin bed areas, Ron and I and the dogs were all inside all day and didn’t feel cramped.   We read and surfed, and the dogs were content to just lie around on the floor.

The only thing bad about not being able to get outside was that I felt antsy at not being able to move around more.

Black rock at the base of the falls

Black rock at the base of the falls

Finally, right at sunset, the sky started clearing.  But then the wind and colder weather started moving in.  At least I was able to cook dinner outside.

We’ll head for home tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to a hot bubble bath!  🙂

Ocean Pond

front of campsite

Our HUGE front yard

Yay!  WordPress will let me insert large photos again!

We got to Ocean Pond Campground late this afternoon.  Ocean Pond is not an ocean, and it’s not a pond.  It’s a lake in the middle of the Osceola National Forest in northeast Florida.

Our back yard

Our back yard

It’s a beautiful campground.  Nicer than I expected.  It has a self-pay station and you choose your own campsite, then go back and put your money and registration envelope in the iron ranger.  All of the waterfront sites were taken, but that actually worked out better for us.

We have a HUGE campsite.  Behind us is a memorial plaque to a ranger who was killed in WWII, so there isn’t a campsite there.  And we’re on a curve across the street from the lake with a HUGE front yard, too.  Plenty of room to keep the dogs on long leads without bothering the neighbors.

Summer temperatures; fall colors

Summer temperatures; fall colors

All this space with water and electric is only $12 a night with our senior pass!

It was really hot today.  I was so grateful that our site is in deep shade during late afternoon.

This evening the mosquitoes are bad.  The camp host told Ron they’ve been bad for the past three days.  They aren’t sure why.

Sunset reflecting from Spanish moss

Sunset reflecting from Spanish moss

Sure glad I brought bug spray and mosquito repellant!

Boat ramp

Boat ramp

 

 

 

I’ve Found Heaven

I think I know what heaven will be like.  If it’s like a bright, balmy, early autumn day, on the lake, with a brisk warm breeze, and the overwhelming sense that everything is as absolutely perfect as it can be, then heaven is like today.

Puffball

And then, to make the day off-the-scale wonderful, when we took Sheba and Sunny for a walk this evening, we found a field of puffballs!  This was the first time I had found larger puffballs.  Up to today, the only ones I had found were small ones like the gem-studded puffball.

A very satisfactory harvest of puffballs!

We had some of them for dinner this evening and they were superb!

I truly can’t remember ever being happier in my life than I was today…. all day…. from the time I got up this morning.

What a priceless gift!

I’ll leave you with a few other snapshots I took around the campground.  Hope you feel the beauty!  🙂

Soft, velvety mullein

Butterfly

Okay, this one isn’t beautiful, but it’s cool. It’s an old reishi mushroom. 🙂

Almost Back in Civilization

Enjoying the water at Flint Creek

The lack of internet at Flint Creek turned out to be a great thing.  We didn’t have to hear bad news, and it felt like we were given the gift of a week out of time… almost like another dimension.

Our Casita and Gail’s van at Flint Creek

We had made our reservations two months ago.  But right before we left I checked the weather and it was grim.  Days in the mid nineties with heat indexes ranging from 101 to 109 with thunderstorms every day.

But we prayed for good weather and headed out to meet Gail and Mike anyway.  And the weather amazed us.

We had two picnic tables at Flint Creek

Our site was in dappled or deep shade all day.  Almost always there was enough breeze to keep us from stifling.  The thunderstorms never materialized.  We’d hear distant thunder and see the storm clouds approaching, but they would go around us.  The only rain we had was the first day we arrived, and it was light and didn’t last long.  The only exception was a freak wind that threatened to destroy our awning one evening.  We managed to get the awning in and get Gail’s canopy bungied to a fence, and in a few minutes it had passed.

At Jennings Ferry COE

And the water!  It was the first time we had frolicked in a sand bottom lake in many years.  We felt like kids again.

Most importantly, Gail and I had time to spend together.  It was precious to both of us.

The people from the surrounding areas were another gift out of time.  I hadn’t seen that level of courtesy and good manners in decades.  The kids were remarkably well behaved.  All week the only sounds from them were the delightful sounds of happy children playing.  No

We’re still absolutely crazy about our little Casita!

screaming.  No rudeness.  No tantrums. Please.  Thank you.  Smiles.   Ron was out walking one day and said hello to a young teenage boy.  The boy actually tipped his cap to Ron… a sign of respect for elders that I didn’t think existed anywhere anymore.   And in town, friendly waves and smiles instead of rude gestures when, due to being unfamiliar with the area, we made a couple of traffic mistakes.

We fell in love with southern Mississippi.  Seriously in love!  🙂

Oh, there was the one requisite group of belligerent drunks that showed up at the swimming beach Friday.  We felt threatened and left.  But within a few minutes a ranger showed up and escorted them out of the park.

Guess Who 🙂

We left this morning with memories that will warm us for a long time.

We drove for about 4 hours and were getting tired.  When we saw a sign for the Jennings Ferry COE campground near Eutaw, AL, we decided to stop for a couple of days.  The park is super clean with spacious, private, level sites and great views on the waterfront side.  We were surprised to see (and hear) a tug pushing a huge barge past our sites earlier this evening.  It will be fun to watch them from the shore tomorrow.

And our senior rate for this campground…. a whopping $18 for two days!

 

 

Reed Bingham State Park, Adel, GA

 

We’re camped at Reed Bingham State Park in Adel, GA this evening.  It’s beautiful and peaceful here.  And our site was so level, we could just pull through and leave the trailer hitched to the truck for an easy get away in the morning.

This park is perfect for overnighting.  Although it has trails and a lake, it doesn’t strike me as a destination park–maybe because the land is so flat.  So we’re enjoying it this evening and will head north to Indian Springs State Park tomorrow for a few days.

The lake. I do love the spanish moss.

Geese at the lake

Spring wildflowers at the lake's edge

The geese were frisky today. I was lucky enough to capture this attack with my camera.

Another goose preparing to attack

Ron and Sunny leaving the lake area and heading back to the campground

High Falls State Park, GA

High Falls, GA

High Falls

We spent the night of August 30 at High Falls State Park in Georgia.  We had stayed here before in the River Campground, but had never stayed in the smaller Lake Campground.

It’s a beautiful campground right by the day use area and the waterfall.  They have a pool, miniature golf course, playground, and picnic areas–all beautifully scenic.

our campsite

Our campsite

The lake campground accommodates smaller rigs, but the pads are laid out at a 90 degree angle to the road.  Very difficult to back into, especially since there are deep ditches on both sides of most of the driveways.  But once we were in, it was worth it.

I was intrigued by the rental yurts.  The camp host gave me permission to take photos of the interior of the only one that wasn’t occupied at the time.

The area is so beautiful that we plan to stop on the way back from Florida and spend a few more days here.

Another view of our campsite

Another view of our campsite

Plants growing at base of waterfall

Plants clinging to rocks at the base of the waterfall

The rapids downstream of the falls

The rapids downstream of the falls

Walking toward the falls

Sunny and Ron walking toward the falls

The playground

Ron and Sunny walking toward the playground

The lake

The lake

Yurts for rent

Yurts for rent

Yurt interior

Yurt interior

Bunks in yurts

Bunks in yurts

yurt opening skylight

Yurt opening skylight with ceiling fan

R. Shaefer Heard COE Campground

Aliner high on a steep bluff

Aliner high on a steep bank

It is 99 degrees at 5:50 p.m. in town.  I think it must be cooler where we are.  We are in the shade and there is a nice breeze off the lake.

It is scary backing just the truck down the steep driveway to our site.  It was hair-raising backing the Aliner in.  But I got it done, even managing to miss the tree at edge of the drive after several — no, make that MANY– tries!

Aliner at R. Shaefer Heard Army Corps of Engineers campground

Our site

The campground is gorgeous.  There are all kinds of sites.  There are some that have smooth, grassy lawns gently sloping right down to the lake.  We drove by that section earlier and there were kids splashing in the water.

My only complaint about the campground is that something died in the nearby woods, and we get a whiff of it now and then.

We haven’t done any hiking since we got here.  When we are active, the heat really gets to us.  If we take it easy, it’s not bad.  It helps being a Florida native and adapted to hot weather.  But we do take a nice air conditioned siesta in the afternoons.

Sunset over West Point Lake

Sunset over West Point Lake

Last night’s sunset over the lake was gorgeous.  A breathtaking palette of mauves and oranges.

I brought my new mushroom book by Michael Kuo and have been studying it.   It is an excellent guide — a great addition to my library.  I am praying for rain so that mushrooms will sprout up while we are here.  It’s never too hot for me to hunt them!

We may get thunderstorms tomorrow.  In fact, it sprinkled lightly

Another sunset shot

Another shot of that gorgeous sunset!

earlier, and we are getting occasional flashes of lightning and distant thunder now.

It’s a pretty steep path to get from our site down to the water.  But there are trees to hold onto.  It has been too hot for us to want to fish, then deal with cleaning them, but we will probably do that before we leave — especially if it cools down a bit.

We are loving being here.  It is so peaceful, so beautiful, and it feels so safe.  We normally don’t like to return to the same campground as there are so many others to explore.  But this one is special to us.

Rocks at the edge of West Point Lake

Rocks at the edge of the lake in front of our site

And the fact that Ron’s senior pass makes the sites 50% off makes it irresistible!

The Aliner at sunset

Ron relaxing by the Aliner at sunset

Camping Next Week!

I just made our reservations for the R. Shaefer Heard COE campground at West Point Lake. It looks like our site will have a panoramic view of the huge lake. We will be leaving July 7 for 8 days.

I can’t wait!

We got new all terrain tires on the truck today.  Lack of traction had been a real problem at some of the places we have taken the camper.  So these should have plenty of grip without being too bumpy or noisy on the road.

soot on the inside of our screen room

The result of using a citronella torch inside the screen room

We do have to clean our screen room.  We used a citronella torch inside to help discourage bugs on our last few camping trips.  It worked, but now we have a cleaning job to do.  I plan to spray it with Greased Lightning and hose it down, and hope it takes the worst of the soot off.

I unsuccessfully looked for mushrooms again today.  The rain we got was apparently not sufficient to make them pop up.

Maybe we will hit another mushroom bonanza on our camping trip like we did on the last one.

I’ll close with pictures of flowers I took in the yard today.

peach colored gladiola

Gorgeous colors!

pink gladiola

These gladiolas are volunteers from last years bulbs that were not lifted over the winter.

unsprayed roses

These roses have never been sprayed, yet are almost bug free. Amazingly, the Japanese beetles have found the blackberries, but haven't touched the roses.

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