Saturday, October 13, 2012

Traveling North to Missouri from Florida

From Florida  our return home to Missouri has taken us through Georgia into Alabama.  Wednesday evening we crossed over the border of Georgia into the town of Eufaula.  As we drove through the town we saw many antebellum homes and one large Civil War Monument honoring the Confederacy. As our Triple A Tour Book notes: “the South does not get any deeper than Alabama”.    Jefferson Davis’ birthday is still a holiday in Alabama.  Wednesday evening we parked our home by Lake Eufaula. The lake was formed by the  Walter F.George Lock and Dam on the Chattahoochee River. This was probably are last time for awhile to see moss-draped oaks.
 We felt it would be interesting to break up our trip back to Missouri by stopping for a day in some area which we had never explored before.  I noticed that in the northwestern corner of our road map there was a notation of a natural bridge.  The town of Jasper is near that area so that determined our stop for Thursday evening.  Friday we took a day off from traveling and took our little tow car out for some local sightseeing.  Natural Bridge was our first stop of the day.  It is the longest stone arch east of the Rockies.  The sandstone arch spans 148 feet long and is 60 feet high. 
The bridge was formed by an underwater river many years ago. Artesian water still flows through this area and it seems like water is flowing everywhere here, dripping off the rocks and flowing in little rivulets around the large rock formations  The scenic forest reminded me of other rain forests which we have visited before,  covered with lush foliage.  There are 27 varieties of ferns here as well as a number of Canadian hemlocks dating to the Ice Age.  Another ancient tree here is the large leaf magnolia.  Looking up at the canopy of the forest I noticed that the large leaves of the magnolia seemed to dominate in the lofty heights of the forest.  I mentioned the lushness of this forest, everything seems so green and grows so big- how about the caterpillar pictured below, he was very busy feeding on the green foliage growing on a rock wall.  This is very much a Garden of Eden for plants and animals!  There was no drought here this past summer!
 Large sandstone formations, besides the Natural Bridge, provided an interesting walk through this forest.  Coming into this park we met up with another couple who informed us that their next stop was Dismal Canyons.  We were uncertain as to where our next destination was going to be, possibly the Sipsey Wilderness area of the Bankhead National Forest.  However, they highly recommended the canyons which are not within the National Forest.  Our next stop was Dismals Canyons - it was a good choice!  

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