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Winter Wanderings Day #34-35, George L Smith State Park, Twin City, GA, Jacksonville, FL

We woke to cloudy skies, but no rain, so all were happy. At lunchtime, we hiked from the campground on the Squirrel Run Trail, along the swamp, towards the historic mill. The trail was aptly named, as a bounding, running, leaping, and climbing squirrel got the puppies all rilled up. The boardwalk through the swamp was cool. We did not see any gators, due to the chilly temps. I am sure they were hunkered down in the bottom of the swamp, trying to stay warm. We hiked through the Parrish Mill, reading all about it’s interesting history. It was a combination grist mill, saw mill, covered bridge, and dam built in 1880. It was an impressive, beautiful old building. Inside, you could hear the heavy, rushing water below your feet, beneath the wood planks. Pippa was sure there were mice or the like, tugging me into a corner, trying to get them. We hiked on through to the far side of the mill pond, impressed by the power of the water, swirling and foaming on the far side of the dam. We got on the Deer Run Trail. We hiked to a lush, little spring, happy to see our first fiddleheads of the season. Hallelujah! We turned around after the spring, to head back for lunch.

After work, we hiked to the picnic area in search of a trail. When we found none, we returned to the mill, getting on the Deer Run Trail again, going in the opposite direction. We hiked about a mile through several diverse ecosystems: swamp, pine forest, bamboo, and wetlands. We saw some armadillo and deer prints, but, sadly, no armadillos or deer. The sun was setting, so not wanting to be out in the swamp after dark, we headed back to the campground. We were so thankful for a day without rain, decent temps, and a good 4.5 miles on the trail. Great day!

We woke to heavy rain, the following day. It was another day spent in the van…Thankfully, we had already decided to skip our final night at George L Smith to go to Jacksonville, FL to see our cousins for a night en route to our next park. We could not drive through JAX and not see the littles and their parents. We got there in time for dinner and some playtime. Always fun with little Lilli, Isaac, and Micah. Not much time for us to hangout with mom and Dad, Joe and Kim, but someday. For now, we get our kid fix! Once again, we were grateful for the van, and the ability to spontaneously stop see family and friends along the way. Had a ball visiting our peeps!

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Winter Wanderings Day #27-30, Fort Toulouse, Wetumpka, AL, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge, GA, Greenville, SC.

Saturday, we left Fort Toulouse. Pippa, immediately, jumped up in the dash, because there were leaves to hunt. After she tired of the fruitless hunt, she slept in dash. She’s a silly puppy! Nigel was in his daddy’s lap. I joked that they’re travel size. They really are!

We drove through rain and storms, again…It sure has been a wet winter. We arrived at Hard Labor Creek in the rain and freezing temps. The park looked wonderful. It had a really nice visitors center, where we checked in, golf course, mini golf, mountain bike trails, and brand new bathhouses from what I could see from the van, as we drove through. We had gotten campsite #20, in an empty cul-de-sac, in a gorgeous forest, right on Lake Brantley. We had the entire section to ourselves. Sadly, other than a trip to the bathhouse for a shower, and Wiley’s quick hike down to the lake front and back with the puppies, we were unable to hike or explore the park due to the stormy, cold weather. It’s a beautiful park with 24mi of hiking and equestrian trails, 17mi of mountain bike trails, campground, cabins, equestrian facilities, two lakes, beaches, and boat rentals. Only 2hrs from Greenville, with so much to do, this would be a great park to bring our granddaughter, Bree. Look forward to returning in better weather.

Continue reading Winter Wanderings Day #27-30, Fort Toulouse, Wetumpka, AL, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge, GA, Greenville, SC.
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Huge Update! December 2018-January 2020

After our family Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans last year, I pretty much quit blogging on my own website, exclusively posting my travel journal to Facebook. Part of it was the ease of Facebook posting and picture importing vs. less simple, WordPress. The other part of it was visibility. I felt like my thousands of followers on Facebook were actually reading, commenting, and liking my content, but no one was seeing it on my website. I got discouraged and stopped using my website, except for my High Maintenance Hippies Jewelry sales.

After much thought, I deactivated my Facebook account to focus my time and energy to complete the project of updating my website blog. My goal is to blog and interact with people through my website, not on social media. I will reactivate my Facebook account to launch my updated blog and invite people to follow our new adventures this winter here on my website, not on Facebook. I will be keeping my 2020 Winter Wanderings travel journal HERE, only using Facebook to post links to my blog posts. Hope to have you along for the ride!

Rather than attempt to cut and paste all of my Facebook travel blog posts from 12/18-1/20, I will summarize the last year, share the highlights, and pictures. It was an amazing year full of travel, adventures, family, and friends. So grateful!

WINTER WANDERINGS 12/7/18-3/9/19

12/7-13/18 Edisto Beach State Park, *Primo Campsite #12*, Edisto, SC: We stayed in the beachfront campground, under a giant live oak, just behind a dune, with a pathway to the beach, one of my most favorite campsites ever. It was a really chilly week at the beach, but I always love the beach in the off-season. We bundled up and took plenty of walks on the beach with the puppies. It snowed over a foot back home while we were gone, so I was happy to be at the beach. We ate plenty of seafood at SeaCow, Whaley’s, and Ella & Ollie’s. By chance, a friend, Holly Peterson from Greenville was at Edisto at the same time, so we got together several times during the week, just us girls and as couples. Fabulous week!

Continue reading Huge Update! December 2018-January 2020
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Black Rock Mountain State Park, GA 5/4-6/18

What a perfect spring camping weekend at Black Rock Mountain, Georgia’s highest elevation State Park. Only a little over an hour from Sapphire, but a new adventure for us. We fell in love with it! It’s absolutely gorgeous!

Took a short hike from the campground to Ada-HI Falls & Norma Campbell Cove. Did the tougher (elevation wise) 3mi Tennessee Rock Trail from the CG, then drove to do the Black Rock Lake Loop on our way out Sunday. Wiley loved making a canjo on Saturday morning at the Ranger led activity. The staff was super nice!

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Greenville, Helen GA, Unicoi State Park 4/19-22/18

Boondocked in Juliann’s driveway Thursday night in Greenville. Julianne, Wiley, and I went out to Grateful Brew for a few drinks and to catch up, followed by a delicious dinner at our old neighborhood haunt, the Pita House. Fun night!

We picked up our granddaughter, Bee Friday morning and got on the road South to Helen, GA for the weekend. We had never been to the town of Helen, but were not overly enthusiastic, thinking it would be a tacky tourist trap, like Myrtle Beach or Gatlinburg. Yes, it was touristy, but tiny and cute. Super fun with a 5yr old. Had a delicious lunch on the river at the Troll Tavern (Best pretzel ever with cheese/veggie soup dip) followed by a visit to the Hansel & Gretel Candy Shop. Got lots of goodies. They were scrumptious!

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Blood Mountain, 2/25/17

 

Now, about that bucket list hike on the Appalachian Trail…WOW! It was a booty kicker, but it was awesome! We hiked from our campsite at Vogel State Park, got on the AT, and took it to the summit of Blood Mountain, the highest point on the AT in GA. It was 4mi from Vogel to the top, then on the way back down, we missed a turn, and went .5mi down then back up .5mi, after realizing our mistake, for a grand total of 9mi on Saturday. It was one of our most challenging hikes to date, but oh, so worth it. We felt a great sense of accomplishment afterward. Now, we’ve got the bug and are already looking at taking Happy and hitting another AT section in the next week or two. Wiley has said, he’d like to thru-hike the AT at some point, but I’m not feeling it. Happy’s got me spoiled, thus the High Maintenance, part of my name. I’ll be content to RV and do section day hikes. Loved checking one off my Bucket List! Life is beyond amazing! Happy trails!