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Issue #188, Epic Road Trip, June 10, 2018: Open Pond State Parek, Alabama

June 10, 2018 We stayed here at Open Pond in Alabama, relishing the fact that we did not have to drive anywhere but could just sink into the quiet repose of this lake campground.

Our neighbors are locals from this state who have come for their weekend get-away, their friendly kids younger than Orion and Phoenix. I took a photo of Kristina holding a kitten.

in Alabama
kristina with a kitten
kuddles with a kamera

The night was sultry, though, and I woke up - as previously recounted - with serious ear-ringing in my right ear. Later in the day, it became apparent why: a massive thunderclap unleashed about an hour of rain and wind, putting our tarp/awning to the test (it survived well, as opposed to when we had it up in the French Quarter, where, due to rules about ‘not putting any stakes in the ground’ we had the sides held down only with bricks tied around the cords, which were not sufficient to keep it securely fastened).

swampy southern lake
sleepy in the mid-day sun
startled by thunder

after thunderclap
rain descends in great torrents
cozy in Cricket

As well, this thunder clap and ensuing rainstorm woke me up from a nap, during which time I had an interesting dream about the Solstice Center (which I used to manage): I was visiting but it was being run by another group, who were putting on some kind of event, pushing me out of the kitchen.

I think I dreamt about Solstice because, on our mid-day exploration of biking to the opposite side of the lake and hiking along another completely deserted lake, we came across a shelter that had the numbers “302” on the entryway and I took a photo (of course), so perhaps unconsciously I was thinking about my old place of employment.

deprived of Trump news
at Alabama campground -
perhaps a blessing?

For such a hot and humid hike, the kids were remarkably resilient, and Phoenix even thanked us for ‘taking us on a hike’ despite the high levels of humidity. We didn’t see any other people, but we did encounter a beautiful spider, and enjoyed the area.

wishing our cellphones
would work at the campground
truly addicted

The kids had the most fun at the end of the hike, playing with a drinking fountain that was in the middle of the picnic ground, next to the shelter. Tiny ants were everywhere, and even the brief time spent locking up the bikes resulted in the small creatures crawling up my legs.

Earlier in the morning, when everyone was still asleep and I was wandering around in a state of misery induced by the air conditioner and the weather, I took many photographs out on the dock, watching the sun rise over the edge of the forest of the Egret poking about, looking for breakfast - and got some good shots of him, flying past me, using my telephoto lens.

I then took my bike and explored the far end of the lake by myself, discovering spiders in the bathroom and locating the trail that we would later explore. I did another sketch after the raid had finally stopped, down by the wooden pier that just into the lake right across from our camp.

alone at the lake
the many picnic benches
wait for visitors

Before I set up, we encountered some locals; two were fishing with their little girl who had red hair and pigtails, who immediately upon seeing me, grabbed my hands and instructed me to take a look at this un-identified mass of pipes visible just below the surface of the water, thinking it looked like a sea anemone from ‘finding Nemo’, and together we looked at a giant fly caught in a spider’s web. They had very thick southern accents.

I even practiced the piano yesterday (we brought a small keyboard) and of course I played lots of guitar too - it’s been nice to do art and music here at the lake.

like we knew the place
smart phone map leads us down roads
we wouldn’t have guessed

some covered with vines
others consumed from within:
abandoned houses

using live crickets
but never getting a bite
camp host with bad teeth

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen