Last Friday I arrived at Mistletoe State Park.
I have been heading northwest following the Savannah River from the Georgia coast. There are several dams that have created lakes and Mistletoe's 93 sites are situated along the shore of 72,000 acre Clarks Hill Lake.
My site, number 75, was simply gorgeous.
Before I walked the campground on Saturday morning I made breakfast.
Tacos, of course.
I made some for you, too.
About two-thirds of the sites are along the shoreline, like number nine.
And number 36.
I took some final photos early Sunday morning from my campsite before I departed.
You can see my neighbor's boat on the left in this photo.
This has been my favorite campground so far on this trip.
But a word of warning. Beware of the red clay found in places along the shore.
To take that photo above I stepped in some. Look on the shore right below my car in this picture.
See the red. That is clay. This is what it looks like on the bottom of my shoes.
It does not wash off. I had to bag them and set them out to dry at my next stop. Then scrape the hardened clay off with a stick.
Elijah Clark State Park was next, 30 miles away on the same lake.
Unfortunately, most of the campground was under reconstruction.
Only 20 of the 165 sites were open.
Mine was lakeside and offered up a nice sunset.
So I spent Monday cleaning my car and trailer while being supervised by a Blue Heron.
I guess the bird got bored because he gave me one last squawk and then flew off.
Their wings are a vibrant blue. Quite fetching.
As were my car and trailer.
Very shiny. I celebrated with a sunset cheeseburger.
I made a brief stop on Tuesday morning at Richard B. Russell State Park.
This is a smaller park with only 28 sites but almost all are situated along the river, with decks, like number six.
I ended up at Tugaloo State Park.
There are 105 campsites here on the shore of 55,590 acre Lake Hartwell. Being less than hour from Atlanta, just off Interstate 85, this place is packed in the summer.
I stayed in number 3.
A crew had just laid down fresh gravel and the sites looked quite sporty.
Numbers 40 and 56 were especially enticing.
The lake was no slouch, either.
I made a batch of burritos which I shared with some fellow campers from California before heading out the next day.
After a brief rain shower on Wednesday, Thursday started off warm and sunny.
While I was driving north into the mountains I saw something white in the distance.
I quickly rolled down my passenger window to snap a blurry photo as I drove by.
Peach Blossoms, I believe. Has Spring sprung...
I continued to climb into the mountains of North Georgia.
The elevation increased while the temperatures dropped. Here is another blurry roadside photo as I drove by.
Yes, those are icicles.
I arrived at Vogel State Park with temps in the low 30's.
Timing is everything and my timing was actually good. The campground would open completely the next day, Friday, so I quickly set up camp and went to take pictures of the 85 sites.
I nabbed site 11, next to a creek.
The little creek, called the Burnett Branch of Wolf Creek, meanders through the campground and has several cute waterfalls.
Sites 49 and 84 are typical of this beautiful place.
Vogel, at an elevation of 2,280 feet, is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is one of the oldest and most popular parks in the state. I will be visiting the whole Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park later this year.
It is now my new favorite campground of this trip.
Anyway, afterwards I finished off the last of my taco meat and went to bed, leaving the pot full of water to soak overnight.
Friday morning it had a layer of ice on it that I had to punch a hole in to retrieve the spoon.
There is also a 22 acre lake here called Trahlyta, named after an Indian Princess. A trail loops around it, which I followed on Friday morning. Counterclockwise if you are keeping score.
The lake is about 1/4 mile from the campground, across from the visitor center.
There are paddleboat rentals and a large lakefront pavilion.
35 cottages are available to rent, six of them being log cabins built by the CCC in the 1930's.
I really liked cabin 36, below. I could live in that one.
Happily ever after, as they say.
Just past that cabin the trail officially starts.
Here is a view from the far end of the lake, looking back at the pavilion and visitor center.
Turning around you will see this sign.
Which leads to a decent waterfall.
I hiked back up to the trail and viewed the beach area from across the lake.
I arrived back at camp quite tired and sweaty.
Why? Because of the signs.
I obey the signs.
I won't swim here.
I won't park here.
I will even pay attention to whatever this sign means.
I think it was referring to a speed bump.
So when I came across these signs on the lake trail, I obeyed them.
I leaped as high as I could 10 times.
I did 100 push ups.
I touched 20 trees while running around as fast as I could.
Followed by 20 jumping jacks.
And finished up with 20 palm plants on the ground.
All that exercise made me hungry so I made a new batch of taco meat.
Two of them.
That should cover things for a little bit.
It was getting cold again so I figured that a campfire was in order. Someone had left some small twigs laying around so I set them on fire.
Nice, but that was just a temporary solution.
I noticed a fallen tree back in the woods behind my campsite. Rules vary regarding gathering dead wood in different campgrounds so I asked a passing ranger and he said it was OK.
I walked down to the tree and noticed some weird animal hanging from it. Looked like some kind of giant mutant tree rat.
I yelled and tossed some small stones. It whimpered, dropped to the ground, and scurried away.
I dragged the log back to camp and cut it up.
There was a red substance on it that had the distinct odor of Chef Boyardee. Poor creature. It probably eats out of trash cans.
I threw some logs on the fire and enjoyed the evening. The long and tiring day was far behind me.
There is a legend that has attracted wide interest about a cave of gold on Blood Mountain above Vogel State Park.
Before the Cherokees were rounded up in 1838-1839 and sent to Oklahoma, they buried their tribal treasures in a cave atop Blood Mountain.
Although many searches have been made throughout the years, neither gold nor caves have ever been found...
Regards, Park Ranger