The Land of Trembling Earth

Okefenokee – “the Land of Trembling Earth”

What better way to begin our winter southern adventure than a stop in one of our favorite state parks, Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Much of the swamp is covered with thick peat deposits. The early Native Americans named the area Okefenokee which means “land of trembling earth” because  they felt the movement of the peat beneath their feet as they walked.

There were deer in the campground every day. One day we took a walk on the boardwalk nature trail near the marina and watched an egret searching for food.

The Okefenokee Swamp is one of North America’s most unspoiled natural wilderness areas. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge web page, “the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has 353,981 acres of National Wilderness Area within the refuge boundaries.

We always enjoy going out in a boat to explore the swamp. On our last visit we enjoyed our ranger guided boat tour so much we decided to go on another tour. While waiting for the tour to begin we wandered around the boat ramp and discovered Mama gator Sophie lounging by the ramp with some of her babies hanging out nearby.

As we rode through the man made canal into the swamp we spied more young gators on the bank enjoying the warm day.

Young alligators on the bank

A large gator checked us out as we exited the canal into the swamp.

Alligator in the Okefenokee

After a few days of cloudy skies and chilly days the sun was starting to warm things up. The warmer weather brought out plenty of  wildlife.

The water winds through ancient cypress trees and water lilies.

Beautiful day in the Okefenokee
Cypress Trees in the Okefenokee



Snow Day in Coastal Georgia

Snow and ice storms are rare in coastal Georgia. The last time we had snow that stuck was a few days before Christmas in 1989.

The freezing rain and snow that came through on January 3, 2018 caused road and bridge closures. Schools were out and government offices were closed. Coastal Georgia was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Wandering Dawgs 2017 Year in Review

This year was a little different for the Wandering Dawgs. Instead of traveling to far away places, we had many memorable adventures by staying close to home in 2017.

Our RV travel started with a short spring trip to Pine Mountain, Georgia to tour nearby Callaway Gardens and F. D. Roosevelt’s Little White House .

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs, GA
FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs, GA

From Pine Mountain we continued on to Alabama to attend an air show at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. All of the performances were exciting but the stars of the show were the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show

Seeing the Thunderbirds was so much fun we made a day trip to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina to see the United States Blue Angels perform.


Our final RV trip of the year was a fall getaway to north Georgia to see Mountains, waterfalls, and Tallulah Gorge .

Dry Falls near Highlands, NC in the Nantahala National Forest
Suspension Bridge over Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls

Visiting New York City with my daughter was one of the highlights of my year.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

Just like we’ve been doing every fall since the 1970’s we made several trips to Athens to attend University of Georgia’s home games.

The teams take the field for pregame practice before a night game in Sanford Stadium

And when we were home we when for boat rides and walked on the beach whenever we could.

Small island in the Georgia salt marsh
Early morning at the beach

My Wandering Around America One State at a Time blog project was really fun to do. As I worked on the post for each state I loved going through old photographs and reading my hand written trip journals. With each state I was flooded with many fond memories of places we had been and the wonderful people we met.

Where do you think we will wander next year? Stay tuned…

Going Down into Tallulah Gorge

We were warned!

We were warned!

We went anyway.

Going down was the easy part

But only as far as the suspension bridge 80 feet above Hurricane Falls.

Suspension Bridge over Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls
Henry crossed to the other side of the gorge

With my fear of heights I could only go a few feet on the bridge. I did manage to see the top of Hurricane Falls.

View of Tallulah Gorge from the suspension bridge
Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge

I handed Henry the camera for some better pictures.

Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge
Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge

I took a picture of the falls from the stairs.

A view of the top of Hurricane Falls from the stairs

And one of Henry looking down from the bridge.

Henry on the suspension bridge above Hurricane Falls

We posed for a selfie before starting back up to the top.

We were smiling before we started back up the stairs to the top
It’s time to go back up the 310 stairs

We made it back to the top after stopping at a few landings and resting on every bench.

I was finally able to capture some fall colors on top of the trail

Younger, braver, and more fit people can cross the bridge to the other side and go down 221 more stairs for a view of Hurricane Falls from the bottom. There is also access to the south rim trail on the other side of the bridge. For us, we are glad we made down and back all in one piece!

Hiking and Waterfalls at Tallulah Gorge

The almost 1,000 foot deep Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular place in the Georgia mountains for hiking and seeing waterfalls.  The hiking trails range from easily accessible rim trails with overlooks of the gorge to a strenuous hike to the gorge floor requiring a permit. After entering the state park we went straight to the Visitor’s Center for a trail map before beginning our trek on the North Rim trail. We stopped at two overlooks with views of the gorge.

Looking down at the suspension bridge above Hurricane Falls
An overlook on the south rim trail on the other side of Tallulah Gorge

On July 18, 1970, tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked across the gorge from this overlook on the north rim to the south rim.

Tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked a tightrope across the gorge
Wallenda Tower used by Karl Wallenda in his tightrope walk across the gorge in 1970
The Tallulah river at the bottom of Tallulah Gorge
View from one of the North Rim overlooks at Tallulah Gorge State Park

Inspiration Point is the highest point in the park and the trail to get there was was a quarter mile uphill hike. When we got to the top we were happy we decided to do the trail.

On the trail to Inspiration Point
One of the waterfalls as seen from Inspiration Point
View from Inspiration Point
View from Inspiration Point

The good news was it was downhill to return to the North Rim Trail from Inspiration Point. With more waterfalls to see we continued along the north rim to two more overlooks.

20171018Tallulah-Gorge-(61)-L'Eay d'Or Falls
L’Eau d’Or Falls in Tallulah Gorge
L’Eau d’Or Falls in Tallulah Gorge

It was way past lunchtime by then so our last adventure at Tallulah Gorge would have to wait until the next morning. It was time to head back to Dillard for some delicious southern cooking at the Dillard House.

After our late lunch we were done for the day.  Stay tuned for our final adventure at Tallulah Gorge.