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.
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.
Mama Sophie by the boat ramp with her babies nearby
As we rode through the man made canal into the swamp we spied more young gators on the bank enjoying the warm day.
A large gator checked us out as we exited the canal into the swamp.
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.
Cormorant in the Okefenokee
Alligator in the Okefenokee
Alligators enjoying some warm weather
Turtle in the swamp
Hanging out in the Okefenokee
The water winds through ancient cypress trees and water lilies.
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.
And when we were home we when for boat rides and walked on the beach whenever we could.
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…
But only as far as the suspension bridge 80 feet above Hurricane Falls.
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.
I handed Henry the camera for some better pictures.
I took a picture of the falls from the stairs.
And one of Henry looking down from the bridge.
We posed for a selfie before starting back up to the top.
We made it back to the top after stopping at a few landings and resting on every bench.
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!
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.
On July 18, 1970, tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked across the gorge from this overlook on the north rim to the south rim.
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.
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.
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.
The Dillard House
The Dillard House
Dillard House dining Room
Bring your appetite when you go to The Dillard House
After our late lunch we were done for the day. Stay tuned for our final adventure at Tallulah Gorge.