12 perfect places to view meteor showers in Georgia

12 Perfect Places to view Meteor Sh...

The Perseid Meteor Shower is considered one of the best and brightest of the year. It's been building up over the past few weeks and peaks this we...

J Bear hiking Little Kennesaw Mountain

Hiking Little Kennesaw Mountain Tra...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="673"] J Bear with lunch at the view from Little Kennesaw Mountain[/caption]  Pigeon Hill Trail / Little Ke...

Summer 2015 Reflections & Explorers Log

When the going gets tough.. Summer ...

Hi y’all! I’m treating myself and my friends to monthly reflections, this year. These are meant to help me keep track and make sense of things...

Simple Activities for Hiking with Kids Vol. 1

3 Things: Simple Activities to do w...

3 Things is a simple series on Happy Trails Wild Tales to inspire and motivate outdoor play for all ages. Stay tuned every week as we explore 3 ...

Travel & Adventure

Let me tell you about the best gifts ever. Father's Day

Let me tell you about the best gifts ever.. it’s not what you think.

See my awesome Stanley vacuum bottle & that mug? Grab a cup of coffee, and listen carefully about the best gifts ever. My dad. What can I say? He exemplifies many of the things I appreciate and admire in a person. He's showe...

Great Georgia Father's Day Giveaway

Enter to win a Georgia State Parks ParkPass for Father’s Day

[caption id="attachment_870495" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Father's Day Giveaway in honor of David Cook 1957-2011[/caption] The Third Annual Great Georgia Father's Day Giveaway is sponsored entirely by awesome companies and organizat...

12 Perfect Places to view Meteor Showers in Georgia

12 perfect places to view meteor showers in Georgia

The Perseid Meteor Shower is considered one of the best and brightest of the year. It’s been building up over the past few weeks and peaks this week with 50-100 shooting stars an hour! The best places to view a meteor shower are dark skies away from the pollution of city lights; places like Georgia’s “Dazzling Dozen” listed here.

 Dark Skies in Georgia

Hamburg Outdoor Recreation Area – Located about halfway between Macon and Augusta, Hamburg Outdoor Recreation Area offers 30 full service (electric/water) campsites in a campground on the edge of a lake.

Horse Creek WMA & Flat Tub WMA – Northeast of Tifton, in Georgia’s Magnolia Midlands lies Horse Creek and Flat Tub Wildlife Management Areas. Primitive camping is available year-round unless otherwise posted. Be aware that this is hunting land.

Big Hammock WMA & Big Hammock State National Recreation Area – Camping is permitted year-round in Big Hammock WMA, under the dark & starry skies of Georgia’s Coastal Region. Be aware this is hunting land.

Stephen C Foster State Park – The darkest sky in Georgia with the least amount of light pollution is found in the Okefenokee Swamp. Stephen Foster State Park, the western gateway into Okefenokee, frequently invites stargazers to participate in amateur astronomy nights. Overnight accommodations at the park include 64 campsites and 9 cottages.

Stars over Okefenokee

Stars over Okefenokee

River Bend WMA – Located about a third of the way from Macon to Savannah, River Bend WMA offers camping under dark and starry skies. Be aware this is hunting land.

Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area – Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” is beautiful during the day and perfect for spotting shooting stars at night. There are only 6 backcountry campsites, but they are reservable on the state park’s website.

Bobby Brown Outdoor Recreation AreaBobby Brown Park, nestled on Clark’s Hill Lake at the Georgia-South Carolina border, is now managed by Elbert County. Information for camping at the 61 campsites in the campground is available here.

AH Stephens State Park – Count shooting stars under the starry skies of AH Stephens State Park, west of Augusta. The park offers 22 campsites and 4 cottages for stargazers.

Photo Credit: Art Stiles, AH Stephens State Park

Photo Credit: Art Stiles, AH Stephens State Park

Brasstown Bald – Get above the night lights at Georgia’s highest peak for a wide open view of the night sky. There is no camping or cottages at Brasstown Bald, but plenty of campgrounds and hotels nearby.

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center – Primitive camping and an open astronomy field are available at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia.

Big Lazer Creek PFA - Big Lazer Creek is a public fishing area nestled under darker skies between Macon and Columbus. Camping is permitted.

Three Georgia State Parks are throwing star parties during the peak of the 2015 Perseid Meteor Shower. The parks invite folks to bring blankets, chairs, and snacks to enjoy the shooting stars with friends and amateur astronomers. Find out where to go in my Explore Georgia post, “Shooting Star Parties in Georgia

 

Hiking Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail in Metro Atlanta Georgia

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J Bear with lunch at the view from Little Kennesaw Mountain

 Pigeon Hill Trail / Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail Hike

This out-and-back hike that combines a short portion of Pigeon Hill Trail with Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail is approximately 2-2.5 miles. Beginning on the Pigeon Hill Trail at Burnt Hickory Rd, the hike ascends to the Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail reaching the highest elevation of the lower peak at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

Enchanting Hike in Metro Atlanta, Georgia

Little Kennesaw Mountain is an enchanting trail with many interesting features that fill the senses. In addition to historic Civil War earthworks, hikers enjoy spotting wildlife and exploring the unique rock formations. The trail leads hikers through shady rock gardens accentuated by elephant-sized boulders. We spotted countless deer, and a Cooper’s Hawk on a hunt for “fast food.”

Hiking Little Kennesaw Mountain Rock Gardens

Hiking Little Kennesaw Mountain Rock Gardens

The wooded, rocky landscape captures the imagination. Various lichen and moss lend a colorful wardrobe to the ancient gray boulders and large twisted oaks. Rocks and roots offer a maze-like playground for skinks and chipmunks. Pavement outcrops featuring folded gneiss give the trail a surreal warped appearance.

Pavement outcrops featuring folded gneiss give the trail a surreal appearance.

Pavement outcrops featuring folded gneiss give the trail a surreal appearance.

Hike with a View

The summit is marked by an information plaque and three replica civil war-era cannons indicating the historic battles that took place here.  Just before reaching this summit, hikers will find a charming view from a picnic-perfect area to the left of the trail.

View from Little Kennesaw Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

View from Little Kennesaw Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Directions and GPS Coordinates for the Pigeon Hill / Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail Hike

The parking lot for this hike is located at the intersection of Burnt Hickory Rd and Old Mountain Rd in Kennesaw (GPS Coordinates: 33.963547, -84.593780). At the south end of the parking lot, cross Burnt Hickory to start the hike on the Pigeon Hill Trail. Download trail maps for hikes in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park before visiting!

While the view from Little Kennesaw is picturesque, the higher peak of Kennesaw Mountain has a panoramic overlook at the summit. Hikers can access the overlook by continuing on Little Kennesaw Mountain Trail or starting a 2-mile hike from the park’s Visitor Center at the intersection of Stilesboro Rd and Old Hwy 41.

When the going gets tough.. Summer 2015 Reflections & Explorers Log

Summer 2015 Reflections & Explorers Log

Hi y’all! I’m treating myself and my friends to monthly reflections, this year. These are meant to help me keep track and make sense of things. I am one of those creative types that flourish in clutter and chaos. I’m also the first to admit that my way is no way to keep any sort of order.

So, I haven’t updated the site in nearly a month. What can I say? Summer is tough. My husband died four years ago and summer time has never been the same, with Father’s Day (June) and the anniversary of his passing (July). It’s also our third year into abandoning the air conditioner. I’ve learned that time spent outside the house is the best way to cope with Georgia’s humid heat. I hardly notice temperatures into the mid-90s anymore, as long as we’re out and about exploring. With that in mind, I’m combining our logs for June and July and this is summer’s reflection quote.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

JUNE 2015 Explorer’s Log

June’s reflection courtesy of Toccoa River

A very late June’s reflection courtesy of Toccoa River in Chattahoochee National Forest.

A video posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

June 2 Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN  

Found this guy hanging out in my favorite section of the Tennessee Aquarium! I heart the Swamp. #chattanooga #tnaqua A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

June 11 Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge

Beautiful, quiet & relaxing escape in Monroe County Georgia #exploregeorgia #georgia #getoutsidegeorgia #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

June 13 Chattahoochee Bend State Park  

June 22 Chattahoochee National Forest?

Cooling off! #exploregeorgia #getoutsidegeorgia

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

June 30 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails  

After the trail #mountainbiking #mtb #exploregeorgia A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

JULY 2015 Explorer’s Log

July’s reflection courtesy of Panther Falls in Chattahoochee National Forest

 

 

July 1 Deerlick Park

 

 

It’s like Alfred Hitchcock’s gone Duck Wild. #waterfowlofinstagram #ducksofinstagram #geeseofinstagram

 

A video posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

July 3 Sweetwater Creek State Park

 

July 7 Tallulah Gorge State Park

 

July 9 Boundary Waters Park

 

July 10 Sweetwater Creek State Park

 

 

Chillin’ out #outdoorfamilies #getoutsidegeorgia

 

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

July 16 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails

 

July 17 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails

 

Yeehaw, yall! #mtb #mountainbiking #GeorgiaBikes #exploregeorgia

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

July 18 Chattooga River Trail / Bartram Trail

 

July 23 Stone Mountain Park

 

Hike to the top of Stone mountain at least once a season! #exploregeorgia #GeorgiaHikes #getoutsidegeorgia #tetonsports

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

July 25 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails

 

 

Another hot day on the mountain biking trails! #outdoorfamilies #getoutside

 

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

July 28 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails

 

July 29 Allatoona Creek MTB Trails

 

July 30 Chattahoochee National Forest, Angel & Panther Falls

 

3 Things: Simple Activities to do while Hiking with Kids #1

Simple Activities for Hiking with Kids Vol. 1

3 Things is a simple series on Happy Trails Wild Tales to inspire and motivate outdoor play for all ages. Stay tuned every week as we explore 3 more things.

My oldest son at 13 years old, teeters on the edge of being a naturalist and a high-tech geek. I consider this an awesome combination that will serve him well in a future that will rely on our advanced technology to help explore and protect our planet. However, maintaining this delicate balance with a peaceful and positive parenting attitude requires a lot of patience and creativity. These simple activities have proven themselves excellent motivators to get (and keep) kids interested in the trail.

Touch Texture Scavenger Hunt

A twist on the traditional scavenger hunt is to find items according to texture. This activity will get you and the kids in touch with nature! This printable graphic is 3.5×5, perfect for carrying along on your next nature walk. Click the image below to print the fullsize scavenger hunt cardBe sure you can identify poison ivy, posion oak, and poison sumac to avoid including them in your finds!

Touch Texture Scavenger Hunt

Please do not include this image on another website. Link to this page, instead.

Easy to find Animal Tracks

Raccoon Tracks

Animal tracks (and other signs of animals) are actually quite easy to spot, if you know what you’re looking for and where to look. One of the best places for beginners to find tracks is the sandy or muddy banks of a body of water. Kids absolutely love to see signs of wildlife. So, print out this handy field guide and start practicing! Click the image below to print the fullsize version.

Finding Animal Tracks with Kids

Finding Animal Tracks with Kids


Magnify the tiniest plants

Take a magnifying glass along on your hikes and get down on your hands and knees to explore the tiny world. You’ll be surprised at how fascinating the tiny world becomes when its magnified for better viewing. What begins as taking a closer look at a plant leads to discovering an entire micro-world complete with insect inhabitants and other wonders.

Thirsty little ant.

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

Playing catch up.. May 2015 Reflections & Explorers Log

May Reflections & Explorers Log
Hi y’all! I’m treating myself and my friends to monthly reflections, this year. These are meant to help me keep track and make sense of things. I am one of those creative types that flourish in clutter and chaos. I’m also the first to admit that my way is no way to keep any sort of order.

Our May reflection is courtesy of the Georgia Go Fish Education Center. 
The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up. ~Author Unknown

Some of you may know that I’m doing this school thing where I learn stuff in the hopes that one day I’ll be smart. The end of May into June proved to be a challenging time for balancing my explorations and work with my oldest son’s entry into the teenage years (#13). My biggest achievement this month has to be earning my Wilderness and Backcountry First Aid Certification. I am very happy knowing what I can do for others in the case of an emergency on the trail or at camp. Now, it’s halfway through June and I’m playing catch up with the blog. :) 

May 3: Fishing at Sweetwater Creek State Park

Georgia fishing! #gastateparks #gofishga #exploregeorgia #happy #outdoorfamilies

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

May 6: Hike with friends at Leone Hall Price Park

May 11: Bought the most expensive pair of pants I’ve ever owned at REI. They cost $70 and they are army green! Insanity.

May 11: Kids To Parks Day on Explore Georgia

 

May 13: Visited the Go Fish Education Center in Perry, Georgia: Read about it on Explore Georgia

May 16: Took Buddy Bison camping

From his camp #buddyBison says Good morning #KidsToParks #outdoorfamilies

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

May 17: Earned my Wilderness & Backcountry First Aid Certification

Wilderness & Backcountry First Aid

Wilderness & Backcountry First Aid

May 21: Took a ride to explore beaches and campgrounds near Lake Allatoona. Check it out on Explore Georgia

Camping at Lake Allatoona

Camping at Lake Allatoona

May 22: Hit the Mountain Bike Trails at Allatoona Creek

Mountain biking on this gorgeous day. “I made that hill! I finally made that hill! ” -J Bear #GeorgiaBikes #mtb

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

May 24: At REI again, $$$$

May 29: My oldest son turned 13, making me the mom of a teenager!

I'm the mom of a teenager! #13 Birthday Party

I’m the mom of a teenager! #13 Birthday Party