Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"Hitch Itch: the restless urge to see new territory, to find what is beyond the curve in the road   
ahead. Full-time RVers, after staying for a time, get hitch-itch and want to move on down
the road. So we hook up our RV and move on down the road to see new sights."
After spending four months at Kings Bay Sub Base in St. Mary's, Georgia -- the longest time we've camped at one place in the last eleven years of extended and fulltime RVing -- we definitely have "hitch-itch" and need to hit the road again.

Still, we had mixed feelings about leaving one of the best RV parks where we've ever stayed. After spending part or all of the last three winters there, it's comfortable and homey.

Above and below:  We like camping near lakes; here are two views of Grassy Pond.

We'll most likely return to Kings Bay some day.

But for now, we're excited about moving on down the road again as we gradually make our way to Alaska this summer. For the rest of the year we plan to stay at some new campgrounds and RV parks and go back to some others we've enjoyed before.


Our first stop was at a military campground at Grassy Pond Recreation Area. It is located south of Valdosta, GA about a mile from the FL border.

We spent three nights here to break up the trip to our next RV park in Pensacola, FL.

Above and below:  We dipped down into FL around Jacksonville in the fog,
which lifted west of the city as we approached I-75, and went back north into GA.

The recreation area is managed by Moody AFB and, until recently, the campground was open only to active duty and retired military folks and their dependents.

A decision was made in January to open the campground to the general public because it was losing money. The campground host told us, however, that only about a dozen sites have been used by the public in the last two-plus months. It's still primarily military folks using it.

We had some concerns about camping at Grassy Pond because of an online reviewer's negative comment about this recent development but we really enjoyed staying here.

When we pulled in the campground host recommended a very nice pull-thru site under tall trees:


WE like having shade, plenty of space for both passenger vehicles, and no one close to us.

We have FHUs with 30/50 amp service, decent WiFi from the nearby lounge-laundry-bathhouse, a strong phone signal, and a lot of clear TV stations with our own antenna (the cable doesn't work in the CG right now).

We weren't really expecting decent free WiFi and TV reception in this rural area so we're very happy campers. And the cost is a reasonable $20/day.

We got here just in time Friday morning. By evening most of the sites in the main campground and across the road were full and a large Boy Scout group filled the tent area. Some of the RV sites are occupied by seasonal campers but most are available for shorter stays.

View from my desk window of the pull-thru sites across the road

The campground sits above two lakes. The larger one is Grassy Pond, a popular fishing venue. The other is much smaller and more swampy, Lott's Pond.

There are several cabins between the campground and Grassy Pond but it's visible behind our site.

The office with game room is located on the lake. There are some large piers, several picnic shelters, a very nice kids' playground, a sandy volleyball court, and a large shaded deck (second photo below) outside the office where people can congregate:


This weekend there was a fishing tournament so we had some additional free entertainment:

The campground is located a couple miles off I-75. The nearby town of Lake Park has grocery stores, fuel stations, a Camping World store and campground, and other businesses.


We were very happy to discover there is a very nice three-mile trail around Grassy Pond.

Jim rode it first on his bike on Friday afternoon. We both hiked around it with Casey that evening after supper:

Above and below:  One of our favorite parts of the trail was a long boardwalk
over a swampy section by the lake; note the "curtains" of Spanish moss below.

Jim liked the trail so much he rode it two more times during the weekend, as well as nearby roads through some very nice neighborhoods.

I liked the lake trail so much I hiked it three more times with the dogs on Saturday and Sunday. 

The trail is smoother than I expected, considering how primeval the forest is -- swamps, boardwalks, huge trees dripping with Spanish moss:



The two- to four-foot wide path is primarily soft leaf-covered dirt with roots in a few places:

The trail is mostly flat except for the south side, which climbs higher on a total of about 80 wooden steps -- up, flat for several hundred feet, over a ravine on a bridge, and back down:


That part isn't conducive to cycling! Jim turned around there and went back around the loop. I just cycled on the trail and boardwalk at the other end of the lake.

The high point on the trail passes a HUGE live oak tree, one of the largest we've ever seen:

There are some hazards around the lake, namely alligators and four kinds of venomous snakes in the area. On our first hike we heard a BIG 'gator splash into the lake but never saw him.

I did see lots of other interesting nature subjects close up:




These colorful fungi on a log look more like shells.

Jim enjoyed riding his bike each day we were at Grassy Pond. His longest ride was 19 miles.

On Sunday we took a drive so he could show me some of the rural and residential roads he liked. Cypress Lakes subdivision has large lakeside homes with beautifully landscaped yards. This time of year is very pretty, too, with azaleas, dogwoods, wisteria, and other flowers in bloom.


The one-mile trail around little Lott's Pond is rougher than the one around Grassy Pond. It's not suitable for cycling but interesting for hiking.

We walked around the pond just once, with Casey, and I took these photos:






Lott's Pond is even more swampy than Grassy Pond but we didn't see any alligators in it, either. I'm sure they're in there, though!


Tomorrow we're headed to Pensacola, possibly for several weeks. We haven't been there before, except in passing. Stay tuned for lots more photos!

Next entry:  camping at the Blue Angel Naval Recreation Area near Pensacola, FL

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil