Monday, May 04, 2015

My Native State.

I was born and raised in the great state of Georgia. I lived there almost constantly for the first 23 years of my life. These days I have a love/hate relationship with the place (and I probably always did and always will). Physically, Georgia has a gorgeous and varied landscape.

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.

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