Trip report for MLK Weekend at Stephen C. Foster State Park and Wildlife Refuge, Fargo, Ga.
Reports of cold weather and low water levels didn’t dissuade GWS members attending this weekend’s activities. On Friday, our first day, we paddled/or poled our way to Minnie’s Lake….and actually made it to the day shelter. It was obvious that the fires had pretty much destroyed most of the area around it, including the privy, but the shelter was intact. We enjoyed our lunch, and then paddled to Billy’s island and briefly explored the remnants of the small community that used to be there. There wasn’t much to see regarding wildlife unfortunately; a few birds, turkey vultures, annihingas, and a lone alligator. It was still quite cold that day.
That evening, some of us gathered at the cabin to play the Ross’s new board game of Catan! It was quite interesting and a lot of fun. Newbie, Bernard Spenle was the declared winner. Chris and Ward Milner and Tom Payne went to represent us at the Okefenokee Trivia contest….and returned to accolades as they brought back the first place trophy..!! they beat out several other teams, albeit “younger”. Experience in years had the other teams beat since the GWS team knew some of the more arcane facts about the swamp…such as what animal was “Pogo”? (photo of the trophy and the winning team members is posted on the GWS web site) The trophy was almost as tall as Chris.
Others that night were gathered at Peggi and Glenn’s welcoming campfire circle.
Saturday we decided to attempt the three mile stretch from Griffis Camp to the Sill, the mouth of the Suwannee. The water levels were so low….almost daunting to most. But, in the spirit of “we can do this”, we headed out. It was quite challenging paddling over shallow areas and submerged logs, but with help from everyone, all canoeists and kayakers were successful.
We had lunch at the sill and explored the area a bit to see how blocked the waterway was. There were lots of trees that had blocked the actual sill “gates” so, it was amazing that the water actually was able to flow.
That evening, some went to the Tolbert’s campfire, others were at the cabin watching the Scrabble game with the Rosses and the Spenles. In the end, Terry maintained his winning status.
Sunday morning was a pancake breakfast at the cabin before everyone went to do their chosen activities. Some hiked, some biked, and some went back on the water exploring other areas. Low water levels hampered how far we could actually go. Some packed up and headed home, while others planned one more night of swamp hospitality.
GWS members who participated were: Terry and Rosemary Ross, Genise and Bernard Spenle (Atlanta), Peggi and Glenn Tolbert,( Byron) her son, Ned, his wife, Lee, and his daughter, Mashay; Marsha Certain, Tom Payne, Gus Lane, Everett George, Ward and Chris Milner, and Trish McMillan.