We have done a fair amount of kayaking on the New River. And, except for some stretches we’ve rafted in West Virginia, it’s a pretty tame river. We generally have to paddle a lot since there are long stretches of flatwater that don’t seem to move much. This trip was pretty much that way, and we encountered only a couple of riffles and a single Class II rapid which was a little fun.
We didn’t carry our kayaks with us. Carole and I have been debating on what we want to have in a tandem kayak and so we have been trying out various models. On this trip we used a sit-on-top kayak and we preferred it (slightly) to the traditional kayak style. So we’ll likely end up getting one of those.
|This is the way we’ll probably tend to do the seating. Carole in front, me in back.|
|We passed several big cliffs like this one.|
|This was part of a big private estate. The owners had two picnic shelters like this one.|
|Passing under I-77.|
Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.
We were both surprised that there was only one family camping in the entire place. There are no hookups for RVs, but the place does have a dump station and there are water sources placed around the campground. Also, it has several bath houses where there are flush toilets, and sinks, but no showers. I wish I’d taken a photo of the inside of the bathhouse because it had some clever decorations inside, including sinks made from galvanized tubs. Also, it charges an amazingly low price of $4 for overnight stays! There was a spot for a campground host that was conspicuously vacant. Not sure why no one would want to host the campground.
After that we headed back the way we came because Carole wanted to visit Mountain Lake Lodge where one of her favorite movies was filmed (“Dirty Dancing”). I had been past the lodge many times, but had never stopped there to walk around the grounds, which are impressive, I must admit. It’s an old-style turn-of-the-century (19th/20th Century, of course) lodge that has a lot of the charm one thinks of when considering those old places. At some point I want to stay a couple of nights there, which we may do in a few years. Time will tell.
|In White Rocks Campground.|
|I wish I’d taken a photo of the interior of the bathroom.|
|Lots of shady campsites.|
|Mountain Lake Lodge. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray slept here!|
|Set a spell.|
Following are some videos that I’ve made while hiking or backpacking through various wilderness areas (the first, ironically, along the Appalachian Trail).
But it’s almost ready to be born. Soon it will be alive, I hope.
It is the largest state in the eastern USA and it takes a long time to travel across it. In the southern low country one encounters Atlantic beaches and vast swamps and flatlands divided by vast, meandering rivers. Move inland and you encounter the Piedmont and the forests change from live oaks and water-tolerant trees like tupelos and cypress to other species hardwoods and pine plantations. Farther north and you hit the Appalachian uplands from the plateau that supports Atlanta to the rugged peaks of the Blue Ridge with their vast gardens of heath laurels and cove hardwoods.
There’s a lot to see there.
When I fled the state I really had no intention of heading back. Not even for visits.But the decades have tempered my distaste for the less pleasant aspects of the place revealing the affection that never left me for the sweeter visions that I never quite forgot.
This has left me to ponder the probability of a slow and lazy tour around the state. Likely such a journey will have to wait until I retire. But already I have begun making a list of spots I want to see again, and new areas that I would like to discover.
I want to camp on Cumberland Island again. Sometime along the way I want to spend a few days staying in Stephen C. Foster State Park where I can paddle the watery wilderness of the Okefenokee Swamp. There are farms I want to see and restaurants where I would love to eat. I wouldn’t mind venturing into the part of the state where my father was born and spent the early years of his childhood.
When I was a kid I used to climb on the vast Ocmulgee Indian Mounds. And even though I never cared for Macon Georgia, I would go there to see those ancient earthen structures left behind by the original human inhabitants of the state.
One area of Georgia that I never visited much was the northwestern corner. I would like to see Cloudland Canyon. And perhaps spend a few evenings at the legendary campground called simply, “The Pocket”.
We’ll see. Time will tell. And Georgia beckons.
|The Okefenokee Swamp.|
|The Ocmulgee Indian Mounds.|
|Ruins, Cumberland Island National Seashore.|
|The North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains.|
|Cloudland Canyon, northwest Georgia.|
Getting ready for these trips is almost half the fun.
|I opened the new awning to clean it off after our trip to Mills River.|
|Carole swept and vacuumed the trailer and aired out the area rugs that we keep inside to cut down on dust and dirt.|
|I climbed into the bed and almost instantly fell asleep for about two hours. This was my view looking out the window at the new awning.|
Here’s a link to my latest book, my first short story collection from Hippocampus Press: A CONFEDERACY OF HORRORS.
|A CONFEDERACY OF HORRORS by James Robert Smith. Foreword by Jason Brock. Afterword by Stephen Mark Rainey. Cover art by Peter Von Sholly.|
Eventually, I ended up reading (and then writing a promotional blurb for) a novel his agent was shopping around. I was glad to help, not least because it was a good book.
Some months back he let me know that he’d sold his first novel. Not the one I’d blurbed, but a new one: THE PULLER. Not only had it been picked up by one of my publishers (Severed Press), but he had also optioned the movie rights before the book even saw the light of print!!
As soon as I could, I read it, and I can see immediately why it was picked up by Severed, but also why it was such a good property for a motion picture.
As to what I thought of the book, see the review I did for it at Amazon.com.
(And I have to say that when Michael asked me to keep my mouth shut about the movie option I did just that. Uttered not one syllable about it until he and his agency announced it. Bravo!)
Hopefully, I can get Michael to agree to an interview here at the ol’ blog.
|THE PULLER by Michael Hodges.|