As much as I love macaroni art and pipe cleaner jewelry, what I really wanted for Mother’s Day was some peace and quiet.
So, when I realized we hadn’t used the two free nights of camping that came with our Friends of the Georgia State Parks membership, I decided Mother’s Day weekend would be the perfect time for a mini-momcation. (An article about my first solo camping trip was featured on the Columbia Mom’s Blog last fall.)
With the influx of COVID-campers it has become more difficult to snag premium sites, especially when only booking a few weeks out. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a waterfront site available at Mistletoe State Park in Appling, Georgia. I reserved the site, and hoped for the best.
A few weeks later it was finally time for my trip. When the clock hit five, I tossed my heels in the back of the Jeep, strapped on my sandals, and headed off into the sunset. Eventually I’d like to be comfortable enough to haul the camper myself, but for this trip Steven graciously offered to haul and set-up for me. I arrived at site 41, and what a site! It’s one of seven sites on a point jutting out into Lake Strom Thurmond. There were other sites that offered more privacy, but I don’t know that there were any that offered better views or access to the lake.
I spent Friday evening enjoying a gorgeous sunset over the lake, and then I stayed up until 4 a.m. binging an entire season of a show on Netflix. I rolled out of bed around 10 on Saturday, and decided to do some exploring. I took a leisurely drive around the campground and park, then stopped by the park store to rent a kayak. For $30 you get to access to kayak (single, tandem or canoe) for 24-hours. Before venturing out on the lake, I decided to take a hike.
The park offers 15.5 miles of trails. I selected the Cliatt Creek Nature Trail Loop, a 3.75 mile loop that starts across from the park office. The trail was relatively easy and offered scenic views of the creek. It was relaxing to be able to explore the woods at my own pace without having to wrangle kids. And, I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself for completing the whole hike.
After I ventured out of the woods, I decided to drive a few minutes down the road to the dam. I was so envious of all the federally managed recreation areas that I passed on way. We live near Lake Murray, but there are hardly any public areas on the lake. Aside from the parks there isn’t much else along the shores of Lake Strom Thurmond, so I was excited to see a BBQ food truck at the gas station in the Pollard’s Corner area. The truck was out of everything but ribs, but I’m not even mad about it because they were so good! The meat fell right off the bone and had great flavor.
With my stomach full I crashed for a power nap.
Next I decided to test out my kayaking skills. The kayaks were conveniently located next to my site. I strapped on my life vest and headed out on to the water. It wasn’t until I was paddling out into the cove that I realized I hadn’t ever kayaked before. Luckily, I managed to get the hang of it and didn’t end up in the drink. I enjoyed another beautiful sunset on the water before turning in for the night.
In the morning it was time to head home relaxed and refreshed to spend Mother’s Day with my boys. If you’d have told me a few years ago that I’d spend a day alone exploring the woods and kayaking, I would have said you were crazy, but I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I’m so grateful for a partner who encourages me to take time for myself for self-care. I encourage other moms to find ways to connect with nature and shed the stress of this chaotic world.
Until next time, don’t forget to seek the scenic!