This trip in the fall of 2022 will lead me on a 14-day tour of northern Georgia, southern Tennessee and a slice of South Carolina.
On these first two days of my trip, I visit several Georgia Parks and Covered Bridges.
Ocmulgee National Monument
This first day, I’m leaving Florida, driving 7-8 hours to Macon Georgia, where I arrive late afternoon to visit the Ocmulgee National Monument.
Unfortunately, I arrive half an hour before closing, so I hurry to see the two main attractions. As I later find out, there is much more to see, so a second, longer visit will be in my future.
Being one of the few National Parks that allows dogs, Joey could stretch his legs after such a long ride. The park consists of multiple Indian mounds of which one interior is accessible, several trails and a historic battlefield.
With only half an hour to spend here, I looked at Earth Lodge first and entered the interior of this large mound. This apparently ceremonial space, resembles the kivas of the Southwest, although the first is underground and the latter in the form of a mound, above ground.
The next stop is at the Great Temple Mound, where a series of steps lead to the top of the mound, that has a 360 degree view of Macon and surrounding area.
Being late in the day and with little time left to visit anything else, I decide to find myself a boondocking spot.
Twin Bridges Lake Campsite
An unassuming turn onto an unpaved forest road, brings me quickly to the waters edge of a beautiful lake. Fully out of sight of the nearby highway and without traffic noise, I find my exclusive campsite, with a view of the lake and a fire ring.
It is already dark, before it’s time for a simple dinner and due to the long ride from Florida today, I’ll head to be early.
Rock Hawk Effigy Mound
Getting up early the next morning, allows me to be at my first destination of the day, just after sunrise.
I’m visiting one of two American Indian effigies, that both have a clear resemblance of geoglyphs, that I have found in other parts of the US.
This one seems to be not much more than a pile of rocks, but as you ascend the tower, it soon becomes clear that there was a purpose in this chaos of stones
This 1000-3000 year old ‘rock painting’, is about 100 by 120 feet (30m by 36m) and looks like a bird of prey.
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
Only 15 miles away, is a much better preserved, and almost identical effigy. It seems to have been built around circular mound, which is several feet high.
Built during the same time period, it seems almost identical.
The rock tower was built in the 1930s and allows you to have a comprehensive view of the monument.
Scull Shoals Historic Site
Deep in the forest, I enter an area that was occupied by the Spanish in the 1700s. The area evolved into a small but active community, with its own stores, grist mill and other buildings.
Everything comes to an end and so many years later, only a few partial buildings and foundations are left.
An attempt was made to start some restorations, but looking around, quickly shows that not much is left and what is, is in a terrible state of disrepair.
A few more years and the last standing walls are probably gone. The forest will return here, as if nothing happened.
Elder Mill Covered Bridge
Built in 1897 and moved here in 1924 to cross Rose Creek.
It is one of 13 operational covered bridges in Georgia out of ~200 covered bridges that once existed.
This subdivision near Athens, Georgia, is a namesake of the well-known Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, which I visited myself about 50 years ago. I visited another, better replica, called Bamahenge, last year on a trip to southern Alabama.
Howard’s Covered Bridge
Built using convict labor in 1904-05, this 164ft (50m) long bridge has a Town Lattice design that uses only trunnels (wooden pegs), to hold it all together.
Currently being restored, this covered bridge is not operational anymore.
Watson Mill Covered Bridge
With 229ft (70m) the longest covered bridge in Georgia.
Still fully operational, it was built in 1885 by the son of a freed slave, who was on its own a well-known bridge builder.
Cromer’s Covered Bridge
Unfortunately located on private property, this 134ft (41m) long covered bridge was built in 1907.
It was dark before I could visit my last destination and I had to resort to a Walmart for some shopping and an overnight stay. I will continue to travel tomorrow towards northern Georgia, where more hiking trips await.
- Ocmulgee National Monument ➜ 32.8393, -83.6114
- Twin Bridges Lake Campsite ➜ 33.2013, -83.3825
- Rock Hawk Effigy Mound ➜ 33.3449, -83.1751
- Rock Eagle Effigy Mound ➜ 33.4173, -83.3882
- Scull Shoals Historic Site ➜ 33.7337, -83.2892
- Elder Mill Covered Bridge ➜ 33.8029, -83.3637
- Stonehenge ➜ 33.9405, -83.5001
- Howard’s Covered Bridge ➜ 33.9861, -83.1332
- Watson Mill Covered Bridge ➜ 34.0268, -83.0748
- Cromer’s Covered Bridge ➜ 34.2751, -83.2659