Monday, November 19, 2012

Seeking Fall Foliage Camping Trip - October 9 - November 1, 2012

This extremely long post is about an extended camping trip (25 nights) we took during the month of October. We stayed in eight different campgrounds from Ocala, FL to Townsend, TN traveling over 1900 miles.  It was a wonderful trip, as you will see. 

#54 - Silver River State Park - Ocala, FL
October 9-12, 2012

Our first campground stay was at Silver River State Park in Ocala, FL. We camped with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who own a Montana 
5th wheel camper. 

Site #54
   A large pull-thru site. 
 It was a total coincidence that our site number was the same
 as the number of times we have been camping in our Antiqua.


We took several bike rides on the many trails they have throughout the Park. 
A couple of the trails lead to the pretty Silver River.

Silver River

A beautiful Luna Moth found along one of the trails.

They have a museum inside the Park that features a Florida Cracker Pioneer Village with several buildings that were built in the late 1800s. The museum is only open to the public on the weekends, but the Park Rangers were nice enough to let me walk around and take some photos early one weekday morning.
This is the interior of the church, which doubled as the schoolhouse. Can you imagine sitting on those hard backless benches all day long while trying to learn your lessons. Not to mention having no air conditioning. Looks like they at least had heat from the small wood stove. 

 My SIL and BIL cooked great sausage kabobs over the campfire one evening for dinner. What a colorful looking meal they made.  

#55 - Reed Bingham State Park - Adel, GA
October 12 - 15, 2012

This is the second campground we stayed in during our trip and the third time we have camped at Reed Bingham State Park. It is a nice Park located on Reed Bingham Lake between Adel and Moultrie, GA. 


Site #36
One of the reasons we like this Park are the large campsites it offers. They are upgrading most of the sites to make them full hook-up and also building a new bath house. Once the upgrades are finished, this already nice Park will be great! 
Some good ole Georgia humor, but with a poignant message. 
This sign is on the road on the way into the Park. Too funny!
This cemetery's headstone caught my eye as we were driving into town to get some groceries. It is a headstone of a former circus appropriate.
 RIP +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We saw thousands of acres of blooming cotton 
fields while driving in Georgia. So pretty.
We ate dinner one night at the Catfish House while camping at Reed Bingham. It's located just outside the gates of the Park. Good food. It's only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights for dinner and it's very busy every one of those nights. 


They were setting up a Haunted Hayride for Halloween in the
 primitive camping area. It looked like it was going to be a lot of fun.
A bad head day.
Just hanging around...

Cattails along the lake

  Watching the sunset over the lake
 #56 - McKinney Campground - Acworth, GA
October 15-18, 2012 

This was our third campground on our trip. This was the first time
 we stayed at an US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campground, 
 but won't be our last. We really enjoyed staying at this campground.  
 Most of the campsites are situated right on the banks of Lake Allatoona.

Site #112
This was a great site with a wooden deck that overlooked the lake.  
 It was so nice to have the view of the lake whether we were inside 
the camper looking out the windows or sitting on the deck. 

 This is our campsite looking up from the banks of the lake.
The deer were everywhere in the Park. It was so awesome to see so many deer in one place. We saw mostly does; however, we did see one six point buck, but he was very elusive, unlike the does, who almost seemed curious about us. 

She's got an itch.
 We went to the Allatoona Dam Overlook near the park. 
The Overlook had several nice views.  
A campsite visitor...a little Nuthatch bird. 

 Another visitor...a Red-Shouldered Hawk
There's a train trestle that crosses over the lake near the campground. We enjoyed watching the trains and listening to the sound of the train whistle.
We also started to see some fall colors in this campground. 
This was a beautiful green and golden tree in the campground.
 Sunset over Lake Allatoona
 #57 - Cloudland Canyon State Park - 
Rising Fawn, GA - October 18 - 21, 2012
This is our fourth campground on our trip. This is the second time
 we have stayed at Cloudland Canyon. It's a beautiful Park with great hiking trails that lead to several beautiful waterfalls and great views of the canyon.
We really started to see a lot of color at Cloudland.
Site #6
The first day we hiked the West Rim Trail accessible from the campground.
 Below are photos taken while hiking the West Rim Trail. 
It's a 4.8 mile loop trail with beautiful views of the canyon.

Cloudland Canyon
Splashes of Color
The next day we hiked the Waterfalls Trail. 
Below are some of the 1200 plus stairs that are part of 
the two mile Waterfalls Trail. Whew, what a climb!
Stairway to Heaven?

 Large rock overhang on the Waterfalls
 Trail with me sitting underneath.

A towering rock wall on the Waterfalls Trail

Another view of the canyon from the Waterfalls Trail

One of the beautiful waterfalls on the Waterfalls Trail.
 View of the West Rim Trail from the Waterfalls Trail.
Can you see the people on the rock overcropping? 
Gives scale as to how large the canyon is.

 Yellow Over the River

The second set of waterfalls that can 
be seen on the Waterfalls Trail.

The third set of waterfalls on the Waterfalls Trial. 
It's easy to see how this trail got its name. 
#58 - Mountaineer Campground - Townsend, TN
October 21 - 25, 2012  
This was our fifth campground on the trip. This is the second time we have stayed at Mountaineer Campground. It's a small privately owned campground. Several of the sites have wooden decks that overlook the Little River. We were fortunate to get one of the river sites. The campground is just a couple of miles from the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and about seven miles from the entrance of Cades Cove within the national park. 
Site #17
The back of the site overlooks the Little River
 This photo of a man fly fishing was taken just behind our campsite.

We got up at sunrise to drive thru Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a beautiful eleven mile loop within the Smoky Mountains National Park. As you can see from the photo below, we weren't the only ones there early in the morning. It was bumper to bumper traffic within the loop, but we just took it slow and easy and it was no problem. 
It was a beautiful, hazy morning.
Love the Smoky Mountains!!

It was so cool when we drove up on these deer. Four of them were bucks who were sparing with each other. They weren't real close to us, but we could 
still hear the clash of their antlers coming together. I don't think they were seriously fighting; just sizing each other up for the real thing some other time.

Old Methodist Church in Cades Cove

Some more deer grazing in Cades Cove.

The next day we went for a very nice hike near the 
Institute of Tremont in the Park. The unofficial name of the 
trail is the Spruce Flat Falls Trail. A fun two mile loop trail. 

Fall colors along the trail.
This is a cool stairway carved out of a log that traverses 
what would have been a difficult area to hike over. I really 
appreciate whoever built this and made the hike a little easier.
  The payoff at the end of the trail was worth the hike. 
The Spruce Flat Falls were beautiful with
 colorful fallen leaves everywhere.

Leaf Jam
We spent four days at Mountaineer and then left Townsend, TN to go to our next campground in northern Georgia. We naively followed the directions the GPS gave us. We started out on the Foothills Parkway, which was good. The Parkway was a beautiful drive with many vistas of the fall foliage and of the Smoky Mountains. 
But then, it took us on US 129. US 129 is a famous highway that goes over the Smoky Mountains known for its many, many curves...318 curves in an 11 mile stretch. It is a motorcyclist's dream drive. We had heard of it from our motorcyclist friends, but they always referred to it as Deal's Gap or the Tail of the Dragon; we never knew the road's number. Well, we ended up towing the camper over this road, because once you are on it there is no turning around. It was a quite a ride and one we won't forget, but one we will never do again towing the camper.

There are several photographers set up along the side of the highway that take your photo as you drive by (that's how famous this road is). Then you can go on-line and purchase your photos. I bought the two below from to prove we slayed The Tail of the Dragon, even if it was only at 20 miles an hour at times :-). 

 #59 -Unicoi State Park - Helen, GA
October  25 - 29, 2012
Site #1

This was our sixth campground stay and the first time we camped at Unicoi State Park. It's a very nice campground. We didn't get to explore a lot of the campground due to spending time with family that lived nearby, but we weren't disappointed because we got to see our grand niece for the first time. 
She's such a cutie!
Love those baby blue eyes!
Enjoying her peaches!

 The sunset on the way home from visiting relatives.  
Taken thru the windshield of the truck. 
 Our relatives came to the campground  to visit the next day.
 Can you tell it was a little windy and chilly?
The windy day was only a preview of things to come. Hurricane Sandy was off the east coast and the winds became very, very strong during the night. After the third time of hearing a tree crashing down and the following thud, I jumped out of bed and sat in the middle of the camper. It was a sleepless night for many. Our neighbors in the next campsite, who were camping in a pop-up, said they spent the night on the floor of their camper and some of the tent campers abandoned their tents and went to spend the night at the Park's lodge.
This is one of the trees that fell during the night. This was just behind Site #7 in the campground. The rangers also had to cut up some trees that fell across the only access road in and out of the campground. 
  Sunrise over Smith Lake in the Park. The dark clouds
 are still some of the bands from Hurricane Sandy
#60 - High Falls State Park - Jackson, GA
October 29 - November 1, 2012 
This was our seventh campground. This was the first time we 
had camped here. This was a nice park with large sites.
Site #88
 A pretty moth landed on a towel at our campsite.
 We took a two mile loop hike on the Falls Trail. Unfortunately, due to much of Georgia experiencing drought conditions the falls were not very high.
 We spent Halloween at this camground; although, the spookiest 
night was spent at Unicoi with the witch, Sandy :)
 It was very chilly several mornings on our camping trip thus far, but 
this was the first morning it was actually at a freezing 32 degrees.  Brrrrrrrrr.
 #61 - Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
  White Springs, FL - November 1 - 3, 2012

This was our eighth and final campground on our seeking fall 
foliage camping trip. This was the first time we have camped here. 
This is another great Florida State Park.  
Site #5

The day after we arrived they were having Rural Folklife Days at the Park. They had many demostrations set up portraying life as it was in the "old days".  Such as, basket weaving, soap making, whip making, cane syrup making, and butter making. They also had a blacksmith and a pottery demonstration

"Pioneer Woman"
Making lye soap

The Stephen Foster Museum
One of the many pianos on display that Stephen Foster
 had once used to compose some of his famous songs.

They have a beautiful Carillon Tower with tubular bells that
 play Stephen Foster's music four times a day. So nice to listen to.

 Our stay at Stephen Foster State Park was a great 
ending to our trip! So many wonderful memories.


  1. Wow Judy! What a wonderful trip you had! I enjoyed the many photos and the tales! You did a great job with the photography and descriptions, some very funny! I would love to see some of these places someday and even if I don't I feel like I have been there because of this blog! :)

  2. Really enjoyed your blog. You covered a lot of ground and saw some beautiful scenery. AWESOME