love note to the peach state

Love Note to the Peach State

Oh Peach State, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways—mountains, swamps, beaches, rivers, pinelands, farms, waterfalls, museums, gardens, rich history, beautiful people. The list goes on and on. You hold so many special places and experiences within your boundaries.

I know I left. I’m sorry. It was time. Twenty-two years we spent together—living life and weathering its ups and downs, raising two boys, hiking, exploring, geocaching, adventuring, motorcycling.

brasstown bald - val in real life
The view over Lake Chatuge from Georgia’s highest point, Brasstown Bald.

I was young when I moved there. Fresh out of college. Yet you’ve always known I longed for the solitude and vastness of the West. But you, my dear Georgia, you will always hold a special place in my life and memories. We have a deep and lasting emotional connection. And even now you still hold my best friends and my sons in your bosom.

I hope you know leaving was no easy task. That leaving doesn’t diminish what was. It’s necessary to weave a new tapestry for myself now. And I’m not leaving for good really. You know I return often to your lush landscape to embrace the people I hold dear.

chattahoochee national recreation area - val in real life
How many hundreds of miles have I hiked in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area? I have no idea. (Vickery Creek, Roswell)

Our 22 years together have been amazing. I’ve criss-crossed you in the name of exploration and experience, most of the time with my beloved Fred, George, and Disapproving Beagle in tow. I’ve spent countless hours reveling in your state and national parks. My sons have blossomed in our time exploring there together, their education enriched by what you offer.

Your geology provides the framework for varying landscapes across the state. From the piedmont that forms the foothills of the Appalachians to the barrier islands on the coast, you offer endless possibilities for vastly different adventures:

georgia renaissance festival - val in real life
Fred and George trying their hands at fencing at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. (Fairburn)

 

skidaway island state park - val in real life
Geocaching adventures with Fred and George have taken us all over the state. (Skidaway Island State Park)

 

old roswell mill - val in real life
The Disapproving Beagle has explored almost as much of Georgia as I have. With the Chattahoochee River practically out the back door of my Georgia outpost, adventure is always just around the corner. (Old Roswell Mill/Vickery Creek)

 

cloudland canyon - val in real life
Georgia’s state park system includes gems like the waterfalls of Sitton’s Gulch. (Cloudland Canyon)

 

old fourth ward - val in real life
An urban nature oasis… Old Fourth Ward.

 

len foote hike inn - val in real life
One of my very favorite Georgia trails is the approach to the Len Foote Hike Inn. (Amicalola Falls)

 

going caching - val in real life
Georgia is home to Going Caching, one of the best geocaching events around.
okefenokee swamp - val in real life
Paddling in the Okefenokee Swamp. (Fargo)
atlanta botanical garden - val in real life
Georgia is home to magical gardens like the Atlanta Botanical Garden (Atlanta), Gibbs Gardens (Ball Ground), the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (Athens), and Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain).

 

cockspur island - val in real life
Geocaching at Cockspur Island near Tybee Island. (Fort Pulaski National Monument)

 

fort king george - val in real life
Nature and history meet at Fort King George Historic Site. (Darien)

 

georgia state parks camping - val in real life
Georgia’s state parks offer well-appointed developed campsites that make family camping easy and fun.

 

dahlonega - val in real life
Hands-on experience learning about the history of gold mining in Georgia. (Consolidated Gold Mine, Dahlonega)

 

dungeness ruins cumberland island - val in real life
The Dungeness Ruins of Cumberland Island National Seashore. (St. Marys)

 

stone mountain - val in real life
I can’t begin to tell you how much time we’ve spent on Atlanta’s pet rock. (Stone Mountain)

 

george l. smith state park - val in real life
From mountains to swamps, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had in Georgia. (George L. Smith State Park)

 

jimmy carter national historic site - val in real life
Georgia’s opportunities for experiential education are a goldmine for homeschoolers. (Jimmy Carter National Historic Site)

 

chattahoochee nature center - val in real life
Fred and George have hiked more miles in Georgia than they likely remember. Georgia offers trails suitable for all ages and ability levels. (Chattahoochee Nature Center)

 

appalachian trail - val in real life
A hiker and backpacker paradise, the Appalachian Trail begins in the north Georgia mountains.

 

amos' bbq ball ground - val in real life
One of my favorite Georgia pasttimes? Riding out in search of fabulous barbecue. (Amos’ BBQ, Ball Ground)

 

A handful of images to summarize over two decades of adventures. They don’t quite do the Peach State justice but I do feel I’ve done Georgia justice in discovering what it has to offer. I hope you find it as exciting as I have. Happy adventuring!

 

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