Ah, Georgia, my former home state. Last month I flew back to send Fred off to college and attend Dragon Con with George. This was my first visit purely as a tourist since finally selling my loft in Roswell earlier this year.
It’s a strange feeling to visit somewhere I called home for so long. There’s a freedom, though. I know enough about the places and people to slip in without the uncertainties of traveling to an unfamiliar place.
Off to college
As is typical for my time in Georgia, I hit the ground running. The first few days were a gauntlet of jeg-lagged chasing about. Shuttling Fred and George to various appointments and having quick meals with friends that felt like speed dating. Without a moment to spare, I grabbed George and set off to Lagrange to help get Fred set up at school and check out his new stomping grounds .
It may sound like I was on track to match the FrankenTravel experience of this past spring but I was actually quite successful in ramping the chaos down once Fred was ensconced at school. Call it a travel lesson well-learned. My solution to several days of hectic activity? Retreating with George to a secluded cabin getaway.
Catching our breath at Chattahoochee Bend
Over the course of the twenty-plus years I lived in Georgia, I spent a lot of time in the state parks. I mean a LOT. Camping, hiking, and geocaching. In cabins, yurts, and tents. We’ve done just about everything, in every park and historic site the state has to offer. So when the plans for this visit began to take form, my first resource was my beloved Georgia State Parks.
Not far from Fred’s college is the nearly 3,000-acre Chattahoochee Bend State Park. The park recently added a few cabins to the amenities and I was all over it as the solution to outdoor fun before the urban adventure of Dragon Con. The brand-spankin’-new cabins are simply marvelous. Our little home-away-from-home was perfect for decompressing and as a base for some light outdoor adventuring.
Paddling the Hooch
One of the draws of a visit to Chattahoochee Bend over other nearby parks is the paddling opportunities, including kayak rentals. I enlisted the help of one of my Georgia besties and her daughter to help shuttle boats between the put in and take out and paddle with us for pure entertainment value. It’s never a boring day with Amy and Piper on board for the adventure.
Paddling the Chattahoochee River is fairly easy going. There are a couple of “rapids” to break up the stretches of smooth, turbid water but it’s largely peaceful. The temperate forest hugs the banks in its lush green arms. Countless turtles bask in the sun on the exposed bits of submerged logs. Birds swoop and hunt overhead.
Sadly, George was not impressed. Compared to paddling the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe surrounded by jaw-dropping mountain views, and having lived his entire 15 years in Georgia, the subtle beauty of the Chattahoochee River doesn’t light his outdoor fire. He enjoyed the trip, but isn’t exactly excited about a repeat adventure on the Hooch.
George doesn’t do much geocaching these days but he’s happy to come along and help me. My visit to Chattahoochee Bend was over five years ago and quite a few caches have been added to the park since then. Nabbing some seemed a good reason to get us out of our ever-so-comfortable cabin and stomping about in the woods.
Here’s where the feeling-like-a-tourist part really sets in, though. For crying out loud, y’all, I lived in Georgia for a long time but I am decidedly NOT acclimated to the southeast anymore. First, I forgot how many ticks and spiders there are. I picked up quite a few invertebrate companions in our short time in the woods. For about a week after, I had the ongoing twitchiness of feeling like bugs were crawling on me constantly.
And the humidity? It’s crushing. Apparently you can actually take the southern out of someone because I have can no longer tolerate it.
Off to Dragon Con
Our brief respite at Chattahoochee Bend was the vaccine to manage the coming challenges of Dragon Con. Jumping suddenly from a peaceful park to urban sci-fi/fantasy chaos is like teleporting to another planet . I’m seasoned in travel whiplash so I dance from one to the other reasonably well.
For all of the fun, time with great people, and oddities of trips like this one, flying home always puts everything right again.
Adventure on, friends! In every way imaginable.