~Wednesday, November 3, 2021~
What a nice way to wake up with meeting such a nice neighbor….Leon from Georgia (originally from Tennessee). It’s Leon’s 10th year of coming to this campground with his wife and meeting up with his brothers and returning Jekyll campers. Most of these people staying at Jekyll Island Campground have been coming here for years. We’re actually occupying his former campsite of E-8, the cursed “Devil Tree” campsite I mentioned yesterday. He hates that tree so much, he painted it with devil horns and red eyes the day it tore off about 3 feet of his Class A’s rear bumper about 3 years ago. This site is notorious for being difficult to back into, all because of that tree. So, I’m feeling a bit proud that I was able (with good guidance) to successfully back into it last night.
I would definitely classify Leon as the expert on what to do on Jekyll Island, though I don’t do well without actual street names. With excitement he pointed out the highlights with a “go down 2 blocks and make a right, and at the fork, make a left before the roundabout………’ya know…...those kinds of directions. 🥴I also learned that this island is one of four Golden Isles, with the other 3 being St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island and Sea Island, all with something to offer in terms of sightseeing. We’ll have to visit those another time.
Since we knew that today was our best weather day, in the upper 60’s, we chose to see the sights via bike. We partially did the 9-mile North Loop, stopping first at the 200-year old sandy graveyard of Driftwood Beach. We’d heard a lot about this beach before, since much of the tourist publications seem to advertise this beach as a lure to the island. With its endless array of massive, gnarled, bleached, “driftwood” looking trees, it feels like an otherworldly place.
Many of the trees are in one piece, but fallen. I think we only saw 1 or 2 still standing erect. Before coming here, I thought these trees had fallen due to hurricane damage. Though that might be partially true, this unique landscape has been formed from decades of erosion. The beach is actually moving south. It would be something to see the maritime forest that it once was.
As we continued heading north, we found one of the landmarks that Leon told us about, “The Villas” “on the left”, to find the unmarked trail to Horton Pond.
So glad we didn’t miss it! Horton Pond was named for its proximity to Horton Road, a historic route crossing the island to connect the beach side of the island with the first “tabby” house ever constructed on Jekyll Island….The Horton House. The pond was dug in the 1970’s to provide dirt for construction projects on the island. Over time, it has naturally filled with water, leaving it to host alligators, wading birds, waterfowl and turtles. They’ve even added a floating platform that allows turtles and alligators to sun their cold-blooded bodies, though none were taking advantage of that today. We didn’t luck out in the way of seeing any alligators, but did manage to see a few swimming turtles catching a surface breath or just trying to check us out. As you exit the pond, there is a short .7 mile trail around the backside, called Tupelo Trail. Whether you bike it or walk it, it’s very cool with the dense mossy oaked setting surrounding the narrow dirt path. Within minutes, you are dropped into the main bike trail again but there’s also an old landmark…..the original European homestead of Major William Horton as aforementioned. Major Horton, commander of the military forces of the Colony of Georgia, was the first English resident of Jekyll Island. His home was one of the few “tabby” homes on the island, where the walls, floors and roofs were made of a combination of equal parts sand, lime, oyster shell and water, mixed into a mortar and poured into forms. The lime was made from burned oyster shells taken from Indian Shell Mounds (the trash piles of the Indians). Evidently, a barn also occupied the property at one time. We found a small garden near the back of the property, recently constructed with a very cool perimeter basket weave type fencing around it. No nails! Now there’s an idea for our next home garden.
Instead of continuing on the bike trail from the Horton House, we went back the way we came, and continued further north, where the trail rides right along the beach. After about 30 minutes, it was time to turn around since we still had errands to run in Brunswick. It was a bit of a challenge riding back, since we were heading into the wind.
On the way to Brunswick, we heard “Sally”, our pleasant sounding navigation director, say “make a right in 6.2 miles to the Sidney Lanier Bridge”. What….Sidney Lanier? That was my grandfather’s name for goodness sake, and not a common name at that. I later found out that the bridge was named after Georgian poet Sidney Lanier who wrote the poem “Marshes of Glynn”, about the beautiful marshes that surround this area.
Now I just need to find out if my grandfather was named after this famed poet. Completed in 2003, it was built as a replacement structure to the vertical-lift bridge, previously hit by 2 ships.
Kind of crazy that we were in for another $8.00 toll, all for the sake of grocery shopping. But, we made the most of it by filling up with gas and loading up on groceries at Target. Diesel is about $3.50/gallon in Georgia, but have certainly paid more in previous states. What we’re really dreading are the prices we’ll have to pay once we get back to California. 💰Ugh! We’ve also noticed the supply chain is affecting store shelves too, at least on the east coast. So, I guess it was worth rejoicing when I found my favorite oat milk in stock!! (always a hit and miss)