Every Georgia State Park.
Got my Annual ParkPass.
Got my Annual ParkPass.
Sweetwater Creek, #12
CAMP (Y/N?): Y (2 nights, Tent)
MY ACTIVITIES: Kayak, Guided Tour
NOTES: Fishing; Mill Ruins (History & Film); Beautiful River (Rock Hopping when low)
I'd never been to Sweetwater Creek State Park, and although I'd heard about 'Sweetwater' for years, I think it was the campground and day use park (Sweetwater Park) on Lake Allatoona in Canton, GA referred to. The State Park is in Lithia Springs, near Six Flags Over Georgia.
I anticipated the drive to Sweetwater Creek State Park to be interstate filled, but my GPS took me through old Marietta and back roads, which made the park seem not so far away. My reservations were for the walk-in campsites (they have 5 tent sites in the Yurt Village). I had packed my big 10 person tent (disco party, anyone?? hehe), but stopped in Kennesaw at REI to look at smaller (backpacking) tents.
With my purchase of a REI Co-Op Half Dome 2 Plus and a new inflatable sleeping mat, it was a move toward the possibility of increased adventure outings like backpacking (which I hadn't done since I was in college in the mid-90s). No plans yet, but I recognized that if I was buying a smaller tent, I wanted to have it be multi-functional and not just a smaller version of the large campground tent I already owned.
The tent setup was easy, with the poles being cleverly designed as one piece that looked like a insect (with only 4 legs, a head, and a tail). The inflatable sleeping mat made me feel like a magician as I used the waterproof stuff sack with mating fittings to blowup the mat.
I had campsite #3, which was better than #4 or #5 in that it was closer to my car for unloading gear, but all were reasonable walking distance. Campsites #1 was nearest the lake, yet still with 1 yurt between it and the lake. Plenty of trees for my hammock here too.
The next day, I rented a kayak from the Bait Shop at the park. It was the same type orange kayak my dad had flipped getting into at Watson Mill Bridge State Park. These kayaks seem 'well used'. My friend B joined me for the afternoon on the lake. This lake (George Sparks Reservoir) was nice and large, and we were told we could go under the road through the tunnel - this was really neat and as I emerged from the tunnel I was greeted by 2 fishermen on the banks to my right. On the other side of the road, I could see my campsite and the yurts. There was a dock from where the yurts on the opposite side from the walk-in tent sites are - neat if you want to yurt camp and bring your own kayak. We saw birds (heron(?) and ducks).
The next day, I was scheduled for a ranger guided hike to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. A guided hike is the only way to go inside the fence around the ruins. The park offers these regularly and often have different themes or ways of interacting, as this one was sketching or photographing the ruins. I chose to sketch because I really wanted to slow down and connect in a way that wasn't attached to my phone. It was an easy and beautiful stroll to the ruins. Afterwards, our group went 'rock hopping' with our Ranger Guide. The river was low and full of people and pets on the rocks. I was captivated by a small group of 8 singing gospel songs on a large rock in the middle of the river under a big beautiful sky.
I left the group and wandered back to the visitor center by myself. The Visitor Center was on of the first Green Buildings in the country - meaning it is very environmentally responsible. If I'm not mistaken, this park is the most visited State Park in Georgia (or one of the most visited), but it didn't feel overcrowded at all during my visit.
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herbalist, locavore, engineer, mom, traveler