|So after a very long winter at Top of Georgia Airstream Park, a very busy tax season, wonderful quality time with the 4 grandkids and Claudia getting sick about the time we were ready to pullout for the summer, we made it back on the road. We moved up to Duckett Mill COE Campground on Lake Lanier for a week to get ourselves ready to travel.
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men.....Claudia caught a terrible disease from Eli, our 3 year old grandson. We delayed our departure date a day and cancelled our planned visit to Milledgeville, GA. Our first day out we traveled 200 miles to Little Ocmulgee State Park near McRae, GA. We have stayed here before. Its a nice state park with about 60 RV/tent sites.....some with FHU. We were able to get a FHU site and not have to unhitch. We had a great, easy travel day.
Since we had made reservations (something we don't do often) some months ago for Stephen Foster State Park for Wednesday, we had to travel 2 days in a row....something we also don't do often. So Wednesday we took our time, pulling out about 11 AM to drive the 130 miles to Stephen Foster State Park. We had a nice travel day again.
Stephen Foster State Park lies within the boundaries of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and is operated by Georgia State Parks. The campground is really nice and during our stay quite. Our site was large and had trees between the adjoining sites. Since we were parked on sand I would not say the site was level....matter of fact we had to get creative to level our Airstream. The mosquitoes were present but we could control them with our Off Lanterns and Yard Guard Spray. The weather was pleasant during our stay. We did have heavy rains on Saturday.
When you visit Stephen Foster you are literally in the middle of nowhere. It was 68 miles to the nearest grocery store! However in Fargo, 17 miles one way, was a convenience store where you could buy basics. Also, in Fargo is the Suwannee River Visitors Center. It was an interesting museum and they also showed a short video on the Okefenokee.
The Okefenokee Swamp is a pristine swamp.....over 750 square miles....much of which has never been explored. The swamp sits like a saucer in the landscape....the water in swamp comes from rain and run off from the rains. Its water levels are highly dependent on hurricanes and tropical storms. Presently this area is in a drought with the swamp water levels down 3 feet. Since the swamp is very shallow..this is significant drop in water level and has caused many areas to be unexcessable via motorboats. Okefenokee Swamp is the headwaters for the Suwanee River and the Saint Marys River. The Suwanee River was made popular by the song Way Down on the Suwanee River written by Stephen Foster. Suwanee River flows north and then south some 200 miles to the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, FL. The St Marys River flow east to the Atlantic Ocean near St Marys, GA.
We enjoyed a 2 hour boat tour lead by a park ranger. She gave us a lot of history of the swamp and pointed out lots of wildlife....including 2 birds that we had never seen before. We saw lots of alligators and turtles. The Hollow Cypress tree is landmark, marking canoe trails. The tree is completely hollow and is still living and is believed to be 900 years old! Okefenokee means trembling earth.....and not because of earthquakes. The swamp's debris puts out methane gas as it decomposes. At times this gas causes "blowouts" of the peat making islands of peat. As these island grew the Indians learned to walk on them and walking on the islands caused movement of the swamp water that made it look like the land was trembling.
It was nearly 100 miles to Folkston to the visitors center for the Wildlife Refuge so we did not get there this trip. It is now on our bucket list of places to visit. We also understand there is an auto drive that you can take.
We are in Valdosta restocking supplies and trying to see if Claudia can get over whatever she has. She had planned to see a doctor but other than an emergency room visit has not been able to find one to see. Today she is feeling better....so we may wait and see about the doctor. Well that catches us up. We will be leaving Valdosta and heading south toward the beaches of the Gulf Coast. More later.