Guest Post by Peggy Richmond
A story of Women in the Wilderness with no electricity, no running water, and no men!
Twenty women—a travel group of women who love camping (most in vintage campers)—gathered at the McIntosh Reserve in Whitesburg, Georgia for a long weekend of kayaking, hiking, outdoor cooking and fellowship.
The McIntosh Reserve Park, in Carroll County, Ga, is a 527 acre multi-use park that combines recreation activities, preservation of cultural heritage, public education, fish and wildlife management and conservation of the Chattahoochee River Corridor. Activities include camping, horse trails, kayaking, hiking, a model airplane airport, bike trails and picnic shelters.
The reserve is carved out of the holdings of Chief William McIntosh, Jr., born to a Scottish Captain and a native Creek Indian woman around the time of the American Revolutionary War. McIntosh was directly and indirectly involved in many treaties negotiated on behalf of the State of Georgia, the U.S. Government, and the Creek Nation. He became entangled in the policy of removing Native Americans from the southeastern United States. Ultimately Chief William McIntosh, Jr. was killed by a group of Creek Indians due, in part, to his prominent positions in both societies.
The reserve preserves the original homestead, McIntosh’s nearby grave site, and surrounding property of the Chief–although this was only a part of his land holdings. Signs and markers throughout the reserve chronicle the history of the region.
Getting there might have been challenging without a GPS. McIntosh Reserve Park is located 35 miles southwest of Atlanta along the Chattahoochee River, and can be reached via US Alt 27 from Carrollton or Newnan or Ga. Hwy 5 from Douglasville. West McIntosh Circle connects to Ga. Hwy 5 two miles west of Whitesburg.
The trip there is an adventure in itself. Meander your way through small southern towns, make sure you take the right turns at the roundabouts, wave at the locals, be alert for the turn into the reserve park and follow the road to the camping areas by the Chattahoochee River. Camping sites are nestled in the woods along the Chattahoochee River, where the green, green, green of meadows and forests exploded before our eyes. Because of recent rains, the river was high and running swiftly all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The setting promised a truly rustic experience.
Designated camping sites are quite large, and we were able to put three or four of our smaller campers on a single site. We were able to comfortably set up 14 campers in the space of five sites.
I arrived Thursday afternoon under a clear sky. With no hookups to worry with, positioning the camper and setup was simple. All I had to do was park and level the camper. Friday night the temperature dropped into the low 40s, making the extra blanket stowed in the camper quite welcome. Friday morning was spent relaxing and chatting with the few other “sisters” who had arrived early. By the end of the day, everyone was set up. Brenda arrived with fried chicken for everyone, and Friday evening turned into a big picnic and casual conversation.
Meals are always a focal point of our camping events, and much of our meals cooking involved Dutch ovens over charcoal fires and propane stoves.
Although Saturday morning started out cloudy, cool and damp, it cleared in time for breakfast, which turned into a real feast. Our first breakfast was a layout of delectable southern cooking, including scrambled eggs, breakfast casseroles, bacon, sausage, cheesy grits, and Tammy’s melt-in-your-mouth homemade Dutch oven biscuits slathered with jams and jellies. This was washed down with fresh perked hot coffee or fresh farm milk. To satisfy our collective sweet tooth, there were banana nut bread, donuts and more.
Breakfast transitioned smoothly into our afternoon meals– and what meals they were! Throughout the weekend we grazed on macaroni and cheese, potato casserole, crock pot Pizza, pork tenderloin with sweet peppers, bratwurst and sauerkraut, cheeses, salads, dips, cherry cobbler pie, and chocolate mousse cake accompanied by an assortment of libations.
The group had arranged a morning kayak outing, including renting kayaks and a guide. The combination of cold, damp weather and the rapid flow of the river scuttled the kayaking event. However, by the time afternoon rolled around, the sky cleared, the sun was bright, temperatures were in the low 70s and the river became more inviting. Sally, Becki and Heidi (each of whom had their own kayaks) struck out for the river and a ride over the shoals and down the Chattahoochee past our camp sites. (I love saying “Chattahoochee,” makes me want to bring out the banjo and start singing). They had a great ride and went back for a second trip. The rest of us watched from the bank, took pictures, hooted and hollered and enjoyed it almost as much as they did.
The weather cleared in the afternoon and Sally, Becki, and Heidi demonstrated their kayaking skills.
That evening a group took off for the Saturday night bluegrass music and a cowboy rodeo (emphasis on “cowboy”), and later made their way to a local “establishment” for a late night meal; arriving back at camp around 1:00 am. The rest of us stayed in camp and enjoyed campfire chat, more food, and libations.
Sunday morning, we awoke to intermittent rain, with a promise of more to follow. We all gathered around for fresh perked coffee, a one-pot Dutch oven breakfast casserole provided by Rebecca, and details of the girls’ night out.
After breakfast, we began to break camp and compare notes on who was going to what event next, and prepared to “head ‘em up and move ‘em out.”
“Happy Trails until we meet again.”
For more information:
McIntosh Reserve Park
1046 W. McIntosh Circle
Whitesburg, Ga 30185