Vogel State Park: A Creek Runs Through It

Actually lots of creeks. At long last I’ve gotten around to the travel report for our last camping trip to Vogel State Park.

Campsite Creek
How's that for a backyard, if only for the weekend?

I ambitiously got the pix posted to Flickr right away thinking I would be able to tap out a post while the adventure was fresh in my granola-filled mind. But then May came on like a freight train and, there it sat, mocking me along with all of my other in-draft posts. Welcome to May at Camp Granola.

Our destination for this adventure was the always agreeable Vogel State Park in the North Georgia mountains. Because I like to get the most out of our car trips for efficiency sake, we stopped by Smithgall Woods on the way to pick up the cache there. We wanted one more notch in our Georgia Parks Challenge belt and more bang for our weekend camping buck.

Even with that little detour, we managed to get to Vogel in the early afternoon. And we wanted as much time as possible because it’s a faboo place criss-crossed with delightful babbling creeks. The bulk of the campsites back up to one creek or another so there’s opportunity aplenty for wet, muddy fun right in your back yard so to speak.

Chilled Toes
Fred chillaxin' in Wolf Creek

After much deliberation, we picked our particular backyard creek for the weekend and set the kids loose…after a quick reminder of what poison ivy looks like. I always have wonderful intentions of having them help set up camp but frequently end up just letting them go explore right away. This was one of those trips. Plus, we were all wound up pretty tightly going into the trip and we all needed a little space. File that under “parenting,” subcategory “picking your battles.” Getting them to help isn’t always a battle, but that day it would have been.

We’ve got camp installation down to a science these days so it didn’t take terribly long to get a start on relaxing. We managed to break our rain meme from the last two trips to Tugaloo and Len Foote. Fred and George were quite pleased to be able to cavort freely in swim trunks and sunshine. No Nature Deficit Disorder when you’re tent camping.

Creek Critter
George discovering the joys of water flow

Overall it was a relatively typical trip in that we did our usual reading, talking, hiking, geocaching, biking, exploring, photographing, etc. Of course that leaves out all the details of why we enjoy it so much but I find camping reports to frequently devolve into you-had-to-be-there moments. Moments that, in essence, build our relationship but would otherwise be boring for a blog reader.

The un-typical part of the trip was the all-out grumpy mood we were all in to start with. It took us the better part of the trip to finally get over ourselves and stop being so edgy. I will say that the edginess dissipates faster for us when we’re out camping than if we’d tried to stay home and relax, but it took a little longer this time around with everyone’s grump-factor so high.

We degrumped by breaking out the ice cream ball. Turns out the ice cream ball is also a great way to meet people because it garners quite a bit of attention from other campers. Some think it’s cool, other think it’s too much work and a handful marvel at how hard we make the kids work for a little ice cream. Fred and George have a good time with it though. Jester too. Yes, I do help as well but I’m more frequently behind the lens finding some happy mommy time or keeping an eye on the pup.

Alternative Playground
Who needs a playground when you've got a fence?

One of the great joys of camping in general is the ability to slow down. There’s just much less bureaucracy of life so you can let your engine go to idle a bit easier. Hopefully you carry that attitude back home but if you’re like us, you get revved back up again pretty quickly.

Our little Camp Granola trick to downshift is to leave the car parked. It may surprise you how many campers spend much of their time driving back and forth from place to place in the campground. It’s kind of pathetic considering how close everything is. In most campgrounds, once we arrive, everything else can happen on foot. And let’s face it, the point of camping is to get out of your car. We find it quite a relief. It’s a total bummer to have to continue to suck fumes when that’s what you’re trying to escape.

Camping Fashion Statement
Camping Mash-Up: Hiking meets biking meets creek splashing

But we are happy campers so we roll with it. We got to give Agnes another try, we stumbled upon a cool snake, and we explored a section of Vogel we hadn’t ventured into before. I even got to hurl myself out of the tent one morning after an uncollared Dobby who’d discovered an unclosed corner of the tent door and decided to take the matter of his morning constitutional into his own paws. Nothing like a little adrenaline rush to start your day. One ill-timed squirrel sighting and we would have been chasing that Beagle across North Georgia.

A bonus for this expedition was an unexpected addition to the annals of Brilliant Product Design. Jester typically does the cooking on weekends and camping trips in particular so he got the coals going in the brand-spanking new hibachi that had clearly just been installed at the site. We were initially pleased to see a hibachi because cooking over the fire pit just doesn’t work as well. Those thoughts went away very quickly as the black paint on the grill began to bubble and flake. Being fairly certain that this was not non-toxic edible paint, Jester fashioned a scraping tool (i.e. a stick) to at least get the loose stuff off so we didn’t have to eat paint for dinner.

As you can see, no trip is ever quite like any other and this one didn’t fail to imprint its own story in our minds. As always, by the end of the trip, we’d all found our happy. Camping is great that way. Plus we stopped by The Tomato House for a boiled peanut fix. It’s like happiness in a bag.

Pup in a Bag
Dobby keeping an eye out for squirrel intruders
Earning Ice Cream
Jester and George churning the ice cream
Naughty Puppy
Because when you're not looking he pulls stunts like this
Happy Campers?
The happy campers waiting semi-patiently for me to finish shooting
Below the falls
But when you've got this kind of scenery, Momma's gotta shoot
Snake Basking
Got Sunscreen?

And now for your moment of green…

Shady Creek
Sooo many creeks run through it


  1. […] Vogel State Park Even with that little detour, we managed to get to Vogel in the early afternoon. And we wanted as much time as possible because it’s a faboo place criss-crossed with delightful babbling creeks. The bulk of the campsites back up to one creek or another so there’s opportunity aplenty for wet, muddy fun right in your back yard so to speak. […]

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