Tag Archives: georgia

toodling up hwy 41

Chula Untitled

J read off the names of the upcoming whistle-stops as we drove out of Tifton. Our final courthouse for this trip would be Cordele after which we’d get on I-75 and get on home. We’d just been through Sparks and Eldorado after leaving Adel, which is appropriately pronounced A-delle. J had decided to collect courthouses earlier in the day and by the time we got on 75 we’d’ve racked up 10, a good dent in the 156 there are to collect. It was also a good excuse to ride up highway 41, always more exciting than the interstate. Most of the way the interstate was visible to our left and the railroad tracks to our right, then sometimes they’d switch, once we got a train thundering by on one side while truck traffic poured north on the other. In the county seats tractors rolled down main street and filled up at gas stations, but transportation methods were not all that thrilled us on this 2-lane highway. A buick on a front porch and an elephant in a graveyard were some of the more exciting sightings. It warn’t bad for a whirlwind tour of southwest Georgia.

Swampfire thoughts

It is no surprise i missed the news that the Okefenokee was struck by lightning April 28 setting off the Honey Prairie wildfire which was still burning in July according to numerous news reports and, according to npr the other morning, is still burning—underground!

Our canoe through Pogo’s homeland back in March 2010 showed us that the black swamp was not a stranger to widfires, evidence both recent and long past was everywhere. This time, according to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge website the fires were started by a lightning strike on April 28, 2011. Water levels were and are much lower in the swamp than they were before the 2007 fires which we saw evidence of—was this wildfire influenced by mankind?

Are we causing our own droughts not just through climate-change influences but through water overuse as well?


The swamp will recover. A fragile ecosystem, it is also dynamic. It saw wildfires hundreds of years ago when no one was around to contain them, it saw them 50 years ago (in the 1950s a fire burned for over a year), and it will continue to be threatened, although they do seem to be coming more often. The swamp will regenerate but it will be changed. The real threat seems to be the lower water levels, as parts of the swamp dry up it’s ecosystem is obviously diminished and the question still is are we causing this?? The question is moot—what’s wrong with living as if we are?

There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we have met the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.
—Walt Kelly, author of

an Arabia Mtn hike

P bought this book, 60 hikes within 60 miles of Atlanta, and I must admit I was a little skeptical. Honestly, I’m not used to moving at the pace of my hiking boots, i prefer wheels, but I’d forgotten how much there is to see on a real, down-to-earth hike.

The shape of our hike was “2 connected loops” or something like that, as opposed to the “loop” or “there and back” forms of others in the book. Indeed it was and my only complaint with the book was that despite its detailed descriptions, “take the wide sandy path that veers off to the right after the bridge,” we got off track because the maps were incredibly lacking in information. I’m sorry, but the shape of our path on a gray background just does not help me figure out where i am. That aside, we got quite a kick out of the narrative which directed us to stand at the top of Bradley Mtn, face Arabia (that white rise over there) and look downhill to our left, see those 2 trees? (out of a forest) head toward them and you’ll find a low box with glass over the top (and writing inside that tells you about the flora of the area, aka, an exhibit? or sign??); however, if you don’t see the 2 trees, don’t worry, just head down to the treeline and walk along it until you see something that looks like a path through the woods and take it. The book had a good philosophy—”don’t worry too much”—after all, while there was good chance of not making it to all the points you intended to, there was very little chance of actually getting lost in this area. At any rate, we did find the “low box with glass on top” and a path that led us to cross the road eventually, we did make it to the quarry house (albeit by a different route) and the little lake. P even found the loblolly pine the book pointed to with some interest at the bottom end of the lake, when i asked what it was like (i failed to notice it, too busy looking at the moss) he merely indicated all the other pines that we were walking through.

landscape ii

But what there was to see! We covered a little over 5 miles and the day was gorgeous for it. I think i even got a little sunburned. Besides all the pine trees, there was thick green moss in the forests, clover-like lily pads in the lake, and dried moss (at least 3 kinds of fungi/moss) on the rock surfaces. We began and ended on the rocky monadnock(s) of Bradley and Arabia Mtn. A monadnock is an isolated hill or lone mountain that has risen above the surrounding area usually by erosion (wiki). Stone Mountain is, of course, Georgia’s prize monadnock, a prominent dome of quartz monzonite, granite, and granodiorite (trust wikipedia). Arabia mountain is not so prominent, it’s surface has been carved up by excavators and it’s height is such that it is mostly hidden by the surrounding trees. The vast sheets of rock occur throughout the region however and are particularly intriguing to one who comes from a state with no true rock whatsoever (sandstone, a mere sedimentary rock, not included). Yes, these monadnocks (Kennesaw mountain being another in the Atlanta area) formed most likely by the eroding away of softer sedimentary rocks like limestone and shale, leaving the more resistant, volcanically-formed igneous rock standing alone. That’s the end of your geology lesson for the day though.

The rocky plains made for an industrial-looking site which still bore the marks of, well, industrialism. Most interesting were the hunks of granite already perforated for breaking into blocks, but abandoned when, I suppose the conservation area was formed. Looking around the top of Arabia mountain at this stepped landscape does make you wonder HOW much higher the peak used to be…