Saturday, November 2nd. We had a one-night stopover Friday night south of Macon in a local park on the shore of Lake Tobesofkee. They had a nice butterfly habitat but they used old newspaper under wood chips for mulch, and they’d recently had a lot of rain so the wood chips blew away and the old newspapers were sodden. But this park had the advantage of being just a couple of miles off the interstate and near fuel and groceries. We availed ourselves of these opportunities, stocking up at Aldi’s and Kroger’s. Saturday morning, we got back on the interstate and white-knuckled our way north for 120 miles on I-75 through Atlanta. The trucks thundered by, and our travel lane unexpectedly became an exit-only lane too many times to count. We were able to breathe again for 50 miles on country road 411N to Chatsworth, GA. This is the western gateway to the Cohutta mountains so we turned east on GA52 for 8 miles on a narrow, winding, steep no-shoulder road to the entrance of Fort Mountain State Park. Scott deserves a medal for safely delivering us and our camper to the park. We checked in at the Visitor Center/Trading Post and drove several miles down an even narrower, steeper and more winding park road to the Lakeside Campground where our campsite #26 was already occupied by another party, well ensconced with a large yellow “Thank you, Jesus” sign prominently displayed in front. The occupant explained that they had been there for 2 weeks, and thought the November 2nd end date of their reservation meant they had the site through the second, and not that they had to depart on the second. The park ranger disabused them of this notion. Too bad he waited until 3 hours past their check-out time to do so. He found exactly one vacant site -#22- available across the road in the Creekside campground and said we could either take it ourselves or make the folks in site #26 move there. We decided to check it out, which involved driving through the Lakeside Loop, even more narrow and winding, an obstacle course through the packed campground with people’s cars and trucks parked too close to the road. The ranger and a maintenance worker came with us to the one empty site in the Creekside campground and blew the thick layer of fallen leaves off the campsite so we could see it. It’s a nice, level site, but it’s up a steep driveway which Scott would have to back into with the truck and camper. He did this following my hand signals, but without doubt, Scott deserves another medal for this performance!
We congratulated ourselves since this is actually a nicer site, with more privacy and further from the road. We took a walk on the Lake Trail through the crisp late fall afternoon, marveling at the brilliant colors of the leaves and the deep blue of the sky. Yes, the temps went down to the 30s overnight, but the stars looked huge, glittering brightly in the crisp mountain air.
The pictures say it all. We had to find a store in East Ellijay to buy warm hats and gloves. Not the hat in the photo, however!
On the other hand, the leaves are turning and the walking is wonderful.
These are trails in Fort Mountain State Park:
Here is the view from an overlook in Chattahoochee National Forest:
Finally, here is a segment of a 900 foot long stone wall, possibly constructed by Woodland Indians around 500 AD for ceremonial purposes, on a Fort Mountain trail just under the fire lookout tower constructed by the CCC in 1938-39.
Sunday, November 3rd.
Morning walk on the Overlook Trail, connecting to the Tower Trail (to the stone CCC lookout tower) and to the ancient Stone remnants of a wall built by Woodland Indians for unknown, possibly ceremonial or symbolic purposes.
Then, drive 18 miles further east on scenic 52 (much easier without towing a trailer!), to the touristy mountain town of Ellijay, Apple Capital of Georgia. Couldn’t find any locally grown apples.