Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kolomoki Mounds State Park near Blakely, GA

When I was looking around for a place to camp for three mid-week days, I ran into a wall of spring vacationers--families with kids had filled all my usual places. So I needed to find the anti-spring-vacation campground. Where would you not want to take the kiddies for a week? I know--Indian mounds! I had planned a trip to this park back in early February, but cancelled because the weather was just too cold. While St. George and Ochlockonee and Stephen C. Foster were all completely full, this campground had only one site taken when I arrived. Over the three days I was there, the most sites filled was seven, with nary a child in sight. While this park would not be of much interest to young children, I found it fascinating.

As I have mentioned, you cannot reserve specific sites in GA state parks, so I didn't know what to expect in terms of my location. Their web photos only show one view of the campground, site 2. It looked just right. When I got there, the other campers had chosen another site, so I got site 2. Here are some views, first of Kolomoki Lake to the right of the site:

This is a small lake that was created when they dammed Kolomoki Creek. No boats over 10 hp are allowed on it. If it hadn't been so windy during my stay, I would have deeply regretted not taking the kayak. This is the view of the rest of the lake, looking to the left from the site:

There is a small, somewhat ramshackle dock that goes into the lake in front of this site. Here is the view from the end of that dock.

In that photo, note the pole with the gourds on it for purple martins on the far left. They were nesting while I was there and I spent a lot of time watching and photographing them.


This one bird spent a great deal of time one morning trying to get a particular piece of twig into the gourd to add to the nest. Here he comes with it.

He perched at the entrance, turning this way and that, trying to fit it through the opening.

While he was working on that, another bird came to a nearby gourd to work on his nest.


The bird with the twig took off, flew around the circle of gourds, and came back to try it again.

I was very happy to see a pair of Canada geese strolling by my site one morning (I do love those geese!).


It took them until the evening of second day to find it, but the small birds did discover the feeder I had hanging at my site.

So, on to the mounds! The main one, and the one that fascinated me, is Temple Mound, a monster of a mound. I spent a lot of time at this mound two of the days I was there, and I always had it to myself. Here's the trail that leads to it.

Here is a long view of the mound, which doesn't really do it justice, particularly with nothing to use for scale.

Here is what that plaque in front of it at ground level says:

This depiction was to the right of that text.

There are 88 steps (thanks, Julie). The top is mostly flat, with a small rise to one side.

The plaque at the top says:

The view is amazing, the peacefulness at the top is wonderful. I took many photos from up there and none of them really convey the feeling that you get so high up, looking down on little birds flying from tree branch to tree branch and contemplating the history of the ground under your feet. I walked away from the steps over to one side and took three photos that comprise this panorama:

There is a small mound at the other side of the field (former plaza), which was discovered to contain several burials as well as pottery and other items that were presumably buried with the dead.

This is the view from the top of the steps, where I sat for long spells, just taking it all in.

There is a museum inside the park office building (which is itself set in a mound) that gives information about the Indians and also the excavations of the mounds.

I stopped on the road back to the campground to take this photo at the end of the lake where the dam is located. The campground is on the shoreline to the left.

When I got back to the campground I recalled my difficulty in finding any photos of sites at this park, so I took a photo of site 6, which was empty and is typical of the sites alongside the lake.

There are 10 sites next to the water, 24 sites in all. There was a sign about tenters being required to use the tent pads in sites, but I didn't see any tent pads in any of the sites, so that was puzzling. Some of these sites, such as #1 and 2, which I was in, are double sites, which share the picnic table area and are about five feet apart. The others have trees between them and are sufficiently private. All of the sites are good, whether on the water or in the woods. Some are a tad on the short side, which could be a problem for the bus-sized RVs, but there are enough that are large enough. They are all level side-to-side, but a few seemed to be inclined front-to-back, which is less of a problem, in my experience. The bath house is clean, but only one of two showers was functional while I was there. Given that there were so few other campers, I never had to wait to shower. There are nature trails, but I didn't hike them since I spent most of my time at Temple Mound. The park is a short drive from the town of Blakely, which has very little to offer that I could find, but it does have a large grocery store.

This was an excellent campground for adults, particularly if you are interested in historical exhibits and locales. I'd like to get back here again before the heat and bugs of summer keep me from camping.


Pam said...

What a great campground! I'd like to make it a stop on my annual trek from my Florida home to the mid-west in my small motorhome. Was there any sign that pets aren't welcome?

Peggy said...

Good question--dogs are definitely allowed (and other pets), there was a little white poodle there and a gray fuzzy dog. You'd want to not walk them down by the water since there are gators in the lake, but there are lots of other places.

BBB said...

Did you stop by Providence Canyon State Park?

Peggy said...

No, BBB, since that was north and so not on the way to and from Kolomoki--but I want to get there to see it, I've only seen photos. I didn't check, but I imagine Bagby was full with vacationers.

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

So pretty and your photos are wonderful.

I'm getting in the mood to go camping but our weather is not quite their yet. It's 31 degrees today.

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

Dan said...

I went to this park on a high school trip a million years ago, and I have great memories of it. Thanks for showing some photos of its present appearance. I noticed a typo in that green sign. How do you suppose "small text excavation" escaped notice? Or did the proofreaders think it was an archeologist's technical term?

Sandra said...

glad the weather is permitting you back out in the wilds that you love so much. beautiful view from your site and i like the view from the top of the stairs. those little birds in the gourds are fascinating in your photos, so i can only imagine the fun you had watching them.

Vicki said...

Definitely a beautiful state park and a wonderful historical site. I love visiting places like that and learning about the history of the area. I am glad you enjoyed your stay. Sounds like a place you would like to visit again.

Mama-Bug said...

Definitely check out Providence Canyon park; the scenery is quite amazing. I think the campsites there are all primitive, no hookups.