We left Diamond Lakes under heavy skies. We were hoping it would hold, because we were going to stop to visit Magnolia Spring State Park, to check it out for future camping and get in a hike before going to our next destination, not far from there. We went through some drizzle en route, but were optimistic that we’d be able to get in our hike. Well, of course, as soon as we pulled in and parked by the springs, the heavens opened up, dumping heavy rain. What we saw of the springs, looked pretty. With the nice campground, lake, and trails, it was definitely someplace we will return to camp when heading south again. Great little park!
In the afternoon, we arrived at George L Smith State Park in the rain. This was getting old…As we drove through the park in the van on the way to the camper registration, we saw gorgeous moss covered cypress and tupelo trees in the dark, eery “mill pond lake”, which I would call a swamp. We also, saw the Parrish Mill and Pond, which we looked forward to touring when the weather cleared. Our campsite, #15 was amazing! It was large, wooded, and semi-private, right on the swamp with a tent pad, fire ring, and picnic table at the water’s edge. There were gator warning and swimming prohibited signs everywhere. We certainly would not let the puppies get too close to the edge, because they would, certainly, be gator bait.
We played cards and read in the van all afternoon. I finished A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon, which Miles had read at Asheville School and given to me. It was a disturbing, moving account of the first and second Chechen wars. Something, I’m embarrassed to say, I knew nothing about before reading this book. It had compelling characters with complex, tragic, and beautiful relationships, set against the rubble and atrocities of war. Not anything, I would typically read, but highly recommend. Written in a unique flashback style, that fills in the holes and ties it all together in a way, I had never experienced. Brilliant piece of work.
By early evening, the rain had, thankfully, stopped, so we laced up our boots and took our antsy puppies for a little hike along the swamp to the dock in the picnic area. The swamp was heavily populated with spooky trees, coming up out of the black water. It was so dark and ominous, made more so by the weather and the late hour. There were, actually, trail markers on the trees through the swamp for paddlers. The park rented boats to explore the several paddle trails through the water forest. It was so cool! We definitely wanted to do it while we were there. Such an intriguing and special place!