Saturday, February 11, 2017

Feb. 11, 2017--- back to Atlanta by way of Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia:

It was a fast week in Orlando.  Not the usual Orlando trip when you think of Orlando----no theme parks, no Mickey, no spending thousands of dollars.  Instead we went birding and even took time out of the trip to get 2 new tires for our car.  But it was a fun trip none the less.
Originally I had hoped to extend our trip and go to Clearwater or S. Florida, or even the Destin area for a day or 2, but we ended up just heading back to Georgia.  We've done a lot of traveling this year, so going back to Georgia was almost like going on another vacation.  I had actually reserved a couple nights at the new Wyndham Clearwater resort for 2 nights, but when I found out they charged $25/night for parking, I cancelled those reservations.  I was also anxiously looking forward to checking out another Georgia State Park in the Southwest part of the state.  It's a long way from north of Atlanta to do as a day trip, but was only about 70 miles out of the way heading back from Orlando.  So that was our big plans for today---back to Buford by way of Providence Canyon State Park.
With the long day ahead of us, we pack up the car and were on the road by 8:30am.
Bye bye clover leafs with wetlands in the middle of them.
 bye to the greenery and flowers for a little while longer.


 bye bye ranch lands
 hello spooky tractor trailers!
 Can we really still be in Florida?  I see hills!
 bye bye cows.
 bye bye lazy cows
 Never looked to see why this plane was by the side of the road.  A museum nearby?  A military base?  Ken discovered it was for the Cannon Creek Airport, in Lake City FL on the east side of I-75,  just north of exit 423. 
 bye bye Florida!
 Soon after getting back into Georgia, we started our detour to the canyon.  It took us through a lot of farmlands.
 got to take a lot of old barn pictures.
 and even some newer barn pictures.
 Even a covered locamotive in the little town of Sylvester.  The detour may have only been 70 miles, but there were several small towns along the way.
 and lots of farmlands.
 and other interesting sights.
 lots of cotton fields, too.
 This area of Georgia had a lot of old houses that remind me of the old barns I like to take pictures of!  But the houses looked like they were still occupied.

 lots of old vehicles, too.
 apparently this is the State of Georgia flag between the years of 1956-2001.   Guess they had to change it in the 21st century when the confederate flag (which was then removed from the state flag) became more and more a symbol of racism then of "southern pride".
 Either pecan or peach orchard----Georgia is known for both.
 another interesting old vehicle
 An old southern home.
 I was telling Ken that with as difficult as it was to get to this park, I bet there wouldn't be many people there.  I was wrong!!!!  It was packed!  After seeing the park, I can see why!  It is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. It is said that Providence Canyon actually is not a purely natural feature — the massive gullies (the deepest being 150 feet) were caused by erosion due to poor farming practices in the 19th century. I don't know if I totally believe that.  Afterall, it looks like a mini Grand Canyon or Waimea Canyon and those weren't caused by farming!  I would like to see a picture of that area before farming.
 There was an admission fee---$5 per car and well worth it.  Being a Georgia State park, it wasn't covered by Ken's senior pass.  We drove straight to the visitors' center.  Didn't go in the center, but did get a map and went to the rim trail to check out the overlook.  The trail down to the bottom of the canyon started here and I went part way, but since Ken wouldn't go, I didn't go too far.  Would have loved to see the canyon from the bottom, too.  But views from the rim didn't disappoint and we spent a couple hours there. 
 First view of the canyon.  Ken went back to the car and drove farther down the rim while I walked.
The typical pathway
 Some areas didn't have canyon views, but it was a beautiful 70's degree day for a walk.  Especially after sitting in a car for the previous 5 or so hours.
 interesting tree growing out of the side of the canyon.
 Of course there were signs saying don't climb on the rocks, but , of course, there were those who didn't obey.
 close up of above idiot.
 back on the trail.
 loved the colors of the rocks.  Even looked like the start of hoo-doos.
 There were several view points along the rim.

 Really does look like a very miniature sized "grand canyon".  Perfect for a day hike!
 Looking towards another viewpoint.
 Looking down towards the "trail" at the bottom---the creek bed.
 looking down towards the floor of the canyon.
 a pan from my favorite viewpoint.
 zoomed in to one of the flat top areas.

 We were there in the late afternoon, but had pretty good lighting.

 another viewpoint of the flat top areas.

 zoomed in towards my favorite viewpoint.
 one of the spires.
 I can't help myself---here's yet another picture.
 looking down towards the creek canyon trail.  Wonder how old those trees are?
 Love the markings on the rocks.
 One last picture before we hit the road again.
 Relied on Garmin to get us home since we had no cell service for awhile. 
 We also checked out a lake and marina nearby.
 Not too impressive photography wise, so we continued on.
 I did think the picture on the visitors'  office was interesting.
 We even caught a quick glimpse of Big Foot!
 Much to our surprise our directions took us into Alabama!  I think that's the first time I've actually been in Alabama!  We stopped for gas and I tried to get a lottery ticket and found out they don't participate in the lottery.  Came away winners---got to keep the $2 I tried to give them.
Eventually we ended up on I-85, a scenic byway (which I agree with), and took that the rest of the way home.  Didn't even have much of a slow down through Atlanta.
Got home about 8pm, almost 12 hours after we left Orlando.  Even managed to get my 10,000 steps in today!  Maybe I shouldn't have, though.  Ended the night feeling very sick---congested and feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.  Getting tired of being sick!!!!  The whole year we lived in South Florida I wasn't sick.  Since moving, I've made up for it!  But still have very fond memories of today and the whole week!

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