Nov 12, 2013

Lake Guntersville

We've ended up staying put here at Guntersville State Park for awhile longer. It's a pretty perfect location for us right now, full hookup, good price, warmish weather, and lots of trails to explore. We are camped lakeside with a beautiful view of the sunset (and deer parades) every evening. 

Most of the trails are named for some kind of neat feature to find along the way. Here's the old whiskey still, on the Old Still Path. Notice the revenooers ax marks. 

We haven't found the moonshine still yet, and we're still hunting for some old home sites. It's pretty hard to navigate the trail system because the park was devastated by multiple tornadoes in 2011. The campground was hit the hardest, and many of the trails are impassable, or just impossible to find. A variety of confusing maps, mismatched blazes, and at least 3 different generations of trail markers in various stages of decay do not help!

Uh, where do we go now?

Kings Chapel Cemetery on Graveyard Hill

Rock biter

We do a lot of pensive gazing these days.

Good morning vampire cat.

Not pictured: 2 more emus, 3 donkeys, small herd of small goats.

Pretty colors everywhere. Fall is my very favorite season.

P.S. Don't forget to check out more pictures over on the Instagram!

Nov 5, 2013

Sweet Home Alabama

We stayed at Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama last week. We had a private, pretty campsite in the trees. We biked around the park, and even rented a paddle boat one day (fun lunch date!). It was nice to slow down and have an uneventful week. It rained quite a bit, so we were cozied up inside, working, reading, drinking lots of coffee and tea, and enjoying regionally available foodstuffs like boiled peanuts and Yuengling beer.

Sailboats at the Joe Wheeler Marina

Saturday morning we headed south to make a stop at the Ave Maria Grotto. The first time we came here, we were on a college road trip with our friends. All the guys humored me by going along with my insistence on checking out this place, but I think everyone really enjoyed it. Ed and I loved it so much we came back! The artist is the late Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. He mainly uses concrete, recycled items, stones, shells, and glass. It's fun to spot all the random little items like doorknobs and butter trays.

 Temple of the Fairies

 St. Kateri Shrine "Lily of the Mohawks"

"Now is yesterday's tomorrow. Do today's work today."

 marbles, tile, stone

 The Grotto

 Detail  of one of the many wayside shrines


This place really is incredible, I just can't say enough about it! Be sure to check out the Ave Maria Grotto if you're ever in the area.

Afterwards, it was onward to...somewhere...we didn't know where we should head, so we took a suggestion of a friend and started migrating south towards Cheaha State Park. We do most of our traveling on Saturday and Sunday, boondocking at least one night out of the weekend. We take care of laundry, groceries, and other errands along the way. The goal is to settle into a campsite, and secure our internet connection in time for the Monday morning work day.

Sunday around noon, we arrived at the top of Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama. The park is absolutely beautiful right now with all the fall colors. Even with all our fancy gear, the internet situation looked pretty dismal. We pulled over into the space designated for camping registration, and asked the ranger at the gate if we could go in first to check out the signal in the campground. No problem. Except immediately, out of nowhere, a long line of cars suddenly appears, and NO ONE will let us back in line to get in the park. It was...weird. And eventually infuriating. Finally I got fed up, jumped outside, and stood in front of the next car so Ed could pull into line. Mr. Park Ranger seeing everything, waved us in with a "right-on" fist pump!

Anyways, the campground wasn't going to work out for us so we headed back down the mountain to regroup. It was a hectic travel day where nothing seemed to work out, but all of those misadventures must have happened for a reason. We eventually found ourselves here at Lake Guntersville State Park, and this spot is working out beautifully for us so far.