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Winter Wanderings Day #26, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson, Wetumpka, AL

Grateful the rain broke, the sun, finally, came out on Friday, but the temperature had dropped into the 30’s. By lunchtime, it warmed up a good bit and felt good in the sunshine. The puppies were blissful to be liberated from the van and outdoors, as were we. We hiked from the campground, across the road to Fort Toulouse, a National Historic Landmark. We had it all to ourselves. The recreated 1751 Fort Toulouse was a charming little fort that sat at the fork of the the Talapoosa and Coosa Rivers, as they came together to form the Alabama River. It had, mainly, been used as a trading post, where the Indians exchanged fur pelts for guns and household items with the French, stationed there on the frontier of their Louisiana Territory. The local Alibamu Indians were part of the Creek Confederacy. “There were no battles at the post as French diplomacy forged allies with the natives. The surrounding Indians, commonly referred to as Creeks, wanted peace so they could trade with both the French and British”. There were high pointed log walls, encircling two standing structures, two chimneys, which were remnants of a third structure, an outdoor brick oven, and ledges in the corners for armed protection of the fort. The two remaining structures were a commandant’s house and a barracks that were colonial clapboard structures.

We then toured the two Creek winter houses and the one summer house, right by Fort Toulouse. It was interesting, seeing the different types of Creek homes. Two were mud-sided and bark roofed houses with bamboo multi level sleeping quarters, ladders, and dugout fire pits inside. The summer house was open sided with multiple level bamboo sleeping areas the length and width of the structure with a bark roof. There was an outside gathering and seating area between the three.

Continue reading Winter Wanderings Day #26, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson, Wetumpka, AL
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Winter Wanderings Day #24-25, Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, FL, Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson, Wetumpka, AL

It was difficult to leave Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola. We had fallen in love and wanted to stay. We finally got the weather, we had gone in search of when we hit the road south from the WNC mountains, January 13th. Our time at Big Lagoon was dreamy! Sadly, pesky work got in the way, and we had to head north for meetings in Greenville, SC, this coming week. The rain, the morning we were to leave Big Lagoon, helped soften the blow. Will look forward to returning, next winter for sure. Add this one to you campground bucket list.

We drove through rain and storms from Florida to Alabama. It was an unpleasant trip. We arrived at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park, near Montgomery, in the rain. What we saw of the park, from the van, was good. There was, what looked like a fort by the Visitors Center/Camper Registration. We looked forward to exploring the forts and park in a couple of days when the weather cleared up. Looked like it was going to be a rough couple of days of rain until then…

The Visitors Center/Musuem/Camper Registration was “located inside the “Graves House”, a Carolina Tidewater Cottage built around 1830 in Lowndes County Alabama. The Bookstore and museum features archaeological collections from French colonial, early American and prehistoric Indian items”.

We registered then went to get settled. The campground was sparsely populated. We chose campsite #32 on a bluff above the wide Coosa River. We had no neighbors, which was nice. The site was under large Spanish moss covered trees. Despite the rain, it was a beautiful setting. We had awful thunder and lightning storms with strong winds all afternoon and evening. The puppies were super stressed. Pippa went and hid under the bed in her cave. Nigel came and cuddled up with me on the bed, while Wiley worked in the front of the van. That night they were both in bed with us.

We spent almost all day, the second day, inside due to weather. We started the day with a tornado watch, which is scary, when you’re in a campground, in a van, down by the river. Thankfully, we did not experience any severe weather, just thunder, lightning, and strong winds. It’s very rare, we have an entire day, where there is not a break in the rain long enough for us to get in at least a short hike. At one point, Wiley went to take the puppies for a walk, just through the campground, when he thought the rain had stopped, but as soon as they left the van, I heard the rain start up again. They were not gone long and came back wet. I did not leave the van at all. Not a fun day. Nigel, particularly, was not amused. We could not wait for it to clear up, the following day, so we could see all there was to see at the park. Bring on the sunshine!

From two days spent in the van, you get puppy pictures. You are welcome!