I think we’ve got the bug. The get out and go- the adventure always- the explore, seek and experience infection. I shared pictures from our first trip out in the new adventure vehicle, which I have lovingly named the double-oh Xtra, since it’s a 2000 Xterra, a few weeks ago. We have since taken it out onto forest service roads twice more between the relentless rainy weekends 2020 has provided us in north Georgia, and on our 3rd trip, we joined a group. We encountered mud puddles, fallen branches and narrow paths, and a downed tree- which the group cut and moved for safe passage across the path. The travel was a ton of fun, exploring with a group was amazing and finding the quaint stage that we all assume was a wedding venue with a view was fantastic. The depth and vastness of the wilderness from the field took my breath away and reminded me that we are all small players in this limitless world. And sometimes, it’s great to feel just how encompassing nature really is.
Recently, we acquired a loved, well used, 4×4 Xterra in our home. Which, logically, means we are out exploring some back roads in the Georgia Wilderness. We picked Forest Road 630, which winds through the Cohutta Wilderness following a winding creek for a while before splitting to go to a lake- only open during the spring and summer, or further up towards Tennessee for our first outing. It was a brisk day, with the highs only reaching into the low 40’s, but it was still stunning. I can’t wait for the road to the lake to be open for more exploring.
One of my favorite places to visit to feel completely disconnected is Cumberland Island. I had been reading about the island while seeing all the pictures of the Dungeness remains and the wild horses and instantly knew that during our trip to St Marys, Georgia we were going to hop on the ferry to the island. We picked a day and headed to the ticket office for the first trip out. It was an overcast morning, sticky with southern humidity despite being September, but there was also a nice breeze bringing the clouds in and out. Once on the boat we saw lots of gulls snatching fish out of the water, waiting for the turbulence from the engines to stir up a good snack, and a few egrets in the marshy areas, popping out along the grass like bright stars on a dark night.
After docking, we were greeted by park staff who gave us a briefing on the relevant information for the days journey, such as beach closings and stern warnings not to pet the wild horses. From there, we were free to explore the island at our own pace. We were lucky enough to have a small group traveling to the island with us, and only saw people on the paths a few times, else we were mostly alone; just us, the horses and turkeys, wild and free.
When I was in 5th grade we took a trip to the Okefenokee Swamp as a class. I enjoyed seeing so much of the wildlife and feeling like an adventurer. I said then that I would go back as an adult, at least once. During a trip to St. Mary’s, Georgia we took a day trip to the Okefenokee and I enjoyed it as much, if not more, as an adult. Being able to wander through the non-swamp parts of the park at our own pace was nice, as was the boat tour with a lovely guide who lead us through the water where we were able to see loads of alligators and birds, fish and frogs, in addition to all the different variations of plant life from lily pads to Spanish moss. Spanish moss is one of my most favorite things: seeing it means we’re getting close to the beach, to the areas that hold so many of my most cherished childhood memories and it signals that it’s time to roll the windows down for the smells that the ocean breeze whips in.
These pictures here are some of my favorites from our trip. This trip also brought back to life my love for photographing nature and landscapes. Enjoy some images of wildlife and tranquility.
Nestled in north west Georgia and roughly 12 miles from my childhood home is the small town of Euharlee. If not for Plant Bowen, a Georgia Power coal-fired plant that supplies the southeastern power grid with invaluable amounts of power, the town would remain largely unknown to a vast majority of people, even though the town is full of rich history and is home to an awesome covered bridge. Along side the bridge are the remnants of Burge’s Mill which was constructed on Euharlee Creek in the 1800s. The bridge was erected in 1886 after the old bridge was washed away, uses a build style known as lattices and trunnels, and spans 138 feet. It was used up until 1980 when a new two lane bridge was built to allow traffic to traverse over the creek. It is now a historical land mark and, according to Euharlee.com, is registered as the oldest standing covered bridge in the state of Georgia.
I decided to spend a morning out at the bridge and the creek under the historical site to experiment with the light of the rising sun on a late summer Monday. I hadn’t been to the bridge since high school and had only passed through Euharlee on the rare random drives that lead me through the reaches of Bartow County. Spending a morning in such a sleepy southern town was like home and reminded me of what small town Georgia could really feel like.
There are also a few historical buildings on site and nearby, as well as a few options for food. It’s well worth a trip out to see the oldest covered bridge in the state of Georgia and to get a taste for small town southern living.