From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camp Branch to Gibson Park---March 19th

Another fine day upon the Suwanee River. In fact, the hottest day so far, so I was thankful to be walking in the shade, sometimes under the branches of huge shady oaks.White sand beaches that were very enticing almost beckoned the passerby to take time out for a leisurely swim. The sunny weather brought out weekend revellers eager to escape the heat; some wading in the shallows, some swinging off ropes into deeper waters, and others kayaking or canoeing.
Jon and I passed over many small tributaries on wooden planks and bridges. The most beautiful place I remember seeing along the river that day was a small mound covered by hundreds of small white lillies. Growing in the dappled shade of an oak tree, it was a study in the contrast between light and dark, heightening one's impression of the scene. It caused a few oohs and ahs to escape my lips when I first saw it.
The funniest animal sighting was an armadillo that I disturbed while it was scratching in the dirt. It took off running down the trail and after ten or fifteen yards would stop and remain motionless until it realized I was still walking behind it. Then it hopped in the air and continued its dash along the trail. This happened in the same exact sequence three times before the goofy animal finally shuffled off to its burrow under a downed tree at the side of the path.
We took a long break at Holton Creek because a picnic shelter there actually had fans in the ceiling. The whirring blades stirring the humid air felt great as we ate and rested. If I recall correctly, this was the same place that had little bungalows enclosed in mesh that appeared wonderfully cozy.
In the mid-afternoon the path turned away from the river and out on to Adams Grade Road. We'd been looking forward to burgers at Adams Country Store, but when we got there the place was closed up tighter than a drum. How sad! However, as we found out later, it wouldn't have mattered if it was open because they don't serve burgers anymore.
At the junction with CR 249, we made the turn toward Gibson Park. Another small surprise awaited us there. Camping for thru-hikers is no longer free, but $5 is still a good deal. The only reason I mention it is because the Florida Trail Data Book needs some updating. After hot showers washed away the trail dirt, the camp host drove us to Burger King in Jasper, where like a bonehead, I left my order at the counter. Jon picked up two bags and I assumed one was mine. It wasn't until we got back to Gibson Park that I discovered my mistake. The second bag contained the dessert he had ordered. Man, I can't believe that I did that. It still bothers me. Anyway, Jon was more than generous to give me his extra Whopper and some fries. The USA Today newspaper helped me catch up with the news headlines: Japan's Nuclear Meltdown and Use of Force in Libya.

Creek Crossing
The Mound
White Lily

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