Monthly Archives: May 2019

Low & Slow Pulled Pork

  • 1 (4-5 pound) bone-in Boston butt (pork shoulder)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue dry rub, or:

Dry rub (makes about 1 cup):

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika (Don’t use smoked or hot)
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper



Spread rub over pork, coating liberally. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Set gas grill up for indirect cooking — heat one side of the grill on high and leave the other side turned off. Unwrap meat and place on the unheated side, fat cap up. Adjust the temperature on the heated side to get a steady 250 degrees. Grill at 250 degrees about 11 hours or until thermometer inserted into middle is 195-200 degrees. Remove from grill and set in a pan; cover with foil and let rest for 1 hour. Hand shred with two forks or pulling claws. Serve with barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Makes 12 servings.

Road Trip Mixtape

Listen To This

The all-American road trip season has begun. Are you prepared? The frenzied crescendo of buttoning up work, overpacking for every possible wardrobe scenario, triple-checking the essentials list, piling up knickknacks to soothe attention spans, ensuring our homes will be standing when we return and the all-so-scientific Tetris game of squeezing what gets packed into the car vs. the car-top carrier. Reminds us of why our parents were in such a bad mood before any family vacation.

One of the most important and commonly overlooked staples is the road trip mixtape. This soundtrack that carries us across the highways, byways and sometimes longways to our final destination is an essential component to remedy the mood and prepare us for the moments we spent weeks counting down.

Here is a 10-pak of notable tracks to get you started:

“Holiday Road” – Lindsey Buckingham

“Ventura Highway” – America

“Low Rider” – War

“Radar Love” – Golden Earring

“Get on the Good Foot” – James Brown

“Sweet Emotion” – Aerosmith

“Strawberry Letter 23” – The Brothers Johnson

“Can you Feel It” – The Jacksons

“Life’s Been Good” – Joe Walsh

“Apache” – The Sugarhill Gang

Grab some snacks, don’t forget the sunscreen and enjoy!

For music streaming aficionados, check out the full mixtape on Spotify.

Handle: Skyrucker

Playlist: CHRISPIX // R O A D T R I P

– Chris Rucker


Men At Work

Mike Yohe established Yohe Plumbing in 1995 when  he decided he wanted to deliver quality workmanship, affordable prices, and outstanding customer service to the CSRA. From a small group of 4 to over 100 employees, Yohe Plumbing, Heating & Air has established itself as a leader in plumbing & HVAC service for the Augusta area. With over 60 years of plumbing and HVAC combined experience, our residential technicians can handle any job, any size, any time. We guarantee these professionals will get it done quickly and for a great price. Yohe Plumbing Heating & Air is a leading Residential, Commercial, and New Construction Plumbing & HVAC Contractor in the Augusta area. We offer 24/7 Emergency Service – when you need help no matter what time of day or night, Yohe will be there.

1120 Franke Place Court
(706) 854-1889

(803) 642-8900



Visit our website at 

Aiken Augusta Audio

Men At Work

Today, more home features from lighting to audio can  be activated by voice and controlled by smartphone. “Technology keeps evolving, and we’re trying to keep up,” says Aiken Augusta Audio owner Tim Logan. “We’re wiring today’s home for tomorrow’s future. People don’t need remote controls anymore. They can control everything by voice.”

The Aiken Augusta Audio crews install the voice-activated technology in existing homes without having to rewire the house and also install in new construction for residential and commercial customers. Their other services include whole-house audio installation, cable, Internet and telephone wiring, TV mounting, smart security cameras for high-definition video surveillance, intercom, home theatre and central vac systems. 

He takes great pride in the variety of services, high-quality equipment and proficiency that Aiken Augusta Audio offers to its clients. He also enjoys the camaraderie among the staff of seven people, which includes Tim and his wife, Marla. 

Different crews have specialized tasks. One crew does pre-wiring work; another installs and programs devices.



Please visit our website

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

Literary Loop

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast — the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends in North Carolina: the host’s daughter and her rescue dogs, a famed equestrian, a makeup artist, a horse breeder and her daughter, and an Isle of Palms resident who helps protect sea turtles.

They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but their hosts, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other.

But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

Over the Moon(Pie)


Photos courtesy of Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce

A small town in Tennessee celebrates a bigtime culinary combination of two quintessential Southern snacks.

Every self-respecting Southerner knows that a MoonPie and an RC Cola are an unbeatable combination, but no one celebrates the dynamic duo quite like Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

The small town (population 532) in middle Tennessee, about 55 miles southeast of Nashville, holds an annual RC–MoonPie Festival, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Southeastern Tourism Society Top 20 Event.

From Races to Royalty
The festivities begin, as always, with certified 10K and 5K runs. The 10K run is limited to the first 1,000 people to register. At the finish line, all runners are invited to enjoy a complimentary breakfast that includes biscuits with all the fixin’s, fruit and – what else? – MoonPies and tubs full of ice-cold RC Colas. Awards are given to division winners, and everyone who completes the race across the rolling countryside receives a finisher’s medal.

Once the race ends, there is plenty of entertainment afoot. A craft fair, featuring more than 75 booths, and a food court are open all day, and entertainment will include the MidState Cloggers and the Howlin’ Brothers Band. Bell Buckle’s own Davis and Dayle will take the stage to provide entertainment with their special brand of merrymaking that includes a blend of comedy, drama, satire and parody.

The RC-MoonPie Festival parade features the Color Guard, high school band and the 1950 Bell Buckle fire engine. The finale shines the spotlight on Bell Buckle royalty, aka those who have been lucky enough to be crowned kings and queens of the festival in years past. Of course, a new king and queen will be coronated as well.

And it’s not only royalty that gets recognized at the annual festival. Prizes are awarded to the youngest attendee, the oldest attendee and the person who traveled the greatest distance to join the fun.

To celebrate the festival’s silver anniversary, entertainers who have provided some of the most memorable moments from the past 25 years also will be invited to give encore performances.

Fun & Games
However, the festival is not just a spectator sport. In fact, it wouldn’t be complete without its lineup of games. Think hula-hooping while munching on a MoonPie and washing it down with an RC Cola, walking across the stage while balancing an RC can on your head and tossing a MoonPie all the way to the city limits.

Although the historic little town is known for its arts and crafts, antiques and food, the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce started exploring ideas to increase foot traffic in the summertime in 1994. The festival was born when the movers and shakers came up with the concept of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the MoonPie.

The festival has been featured on the likes of Travel Channel and “Tennessee Crossroads” and in publications such as Southern Living, Food Network Magazine and USA Today.

Every year the festival dishes out a sweet ending by serving the world’s largest MoonPie in all of its marshmallow-y, graham cracker-y, chocolate-coated goodness. Baked fresh at the Chattanooga Bakery, which started making the confection in 1917 to satisfy the craving of a Kentucky coal miner, the MoonPie is delivered personally to the festival. Rumor has it that this year’s MoonPie will be something that never has been seen before – and likely never will be seen again – to celebrate the festival’s 25 wonderful, wacky, quirky years.

If You Go:
What: 25th Annual RC-MoonPie Festival

When: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15

Where: Bell Buckle, Tennessee

How Much: Free admission

More Info: (931) 389-9663 or

A Winning Combination
The MoonPie hit the market in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1917, after a Kentucky coal miner told a traveling salesman he wanted a snack “as big as the moon.” The salesman took the request back to the bakery, which was happy to oblige with something that was filling and fit in a lunch pail. The coal miners loved it.

At the time Chattanooga Bakery produced more than 100 items, but the bakery realized it had landed on something otherworldly with the MoonPie. At 5 cents apiece, the MoonPie became a top seller, and factory workers were boxing up hundreds every day by 1929.

Royal Crown, or RC Cola, arrived on the beverage scene in 1934. The combination became an instant success after joining forces in the 1950s when an RC and MoonPie special could be purchased for 10 cents. In those days, that was a full 16 ounces of RC Cola and nearly a half-pound of MoonPie. Soon, the combo was labeled as the instant fast food lunch of the ’50s.

The pair has been immortalized in songs such as “Gimm’e an RC Cola and a Moonpie” by Big Bill Liston, “RC and Moonpie” by NRBQ, “Moonpie” by Edwin Hubbell and a children’s musical version called “Weezie and the Moon Pies” by Bill Harley. Literary nods to the tasty twosome include “The Great American Moon Pie Handbook” by Ron Dickson and children’s book “Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure” by Tony DiTerlizzi.

By Morgan Davis

Ham It Up


Amateur radio operators will share their skills at an open house to demonstrate the importance of the communications network.

Amateur, or ham, radio is more than just a hobby, and Amateur Radio Field Day, which is held each June, demonstrates its value to the community and to the nation.

The Amateur Radio Club of Columbia County once again is participating in this year’s event, which was started in 1933 for ham radio operators across North America to establish temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate the science and skill of amateur radio.

“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with the EOC to practice emergency response capabilities, and to demonstrate amateur radio capabilities to the organizations that we serve during emergencies, as well as the general public,” says Dan Marshall, ARCCC president. “It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach and technical skills all in a single event.”

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator, and the United States has more than 725,000 licenses hams ranging in age from 9 to 100.

If You Go:
What: Amateur Radio Field Day

When: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22

Where: Columbia County Emergency Operations Center, 650-B Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans

How Much: Free

More info:

Go Fish

Guide To The Lake

Some of the best fishing in the southeastern United States is at Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake has a large population of game fish including striped bass, hybrid bass, catfish, crappie and many other species. Yellow perch fishing is popular below the dam, and on average, the Georgia and South Carolina Departments of Natural Resources stock more than 220,000 striped bass and 610,000 hybrid bass annually.

The two state agencies have a reciprocal license agreement, so residents of both states may fish most areas on the lake (from boat or shoreline) or its tailwaters with a license from either state. Anyone age 16 and older must have a current license in possession to fish.

Fishing licenses are available at select marinas, sporting goods and hardware stores, bait and tackle shops and each state’s Department of Natural Resources by mail, phone or online.

  • An annual recreational fishing license costs $15 for Georgia residents age 16-64. Saltwater fishing additionally requires the free saltwater information permit, and mountain trout fishing additionally requires the paid trout license.
  • One-day permits are $5, and additional days may be purchased for $1 each.
  • Young anglers under age 15 can get a youth fishing license for $10, which includes mountain trout privileges. The multiyear license is effective until their 17th birthday.
  • Seniors age 65 and older are eligible for a free lifetime license.

Fishing from the shore or a boat is permitted in most areas of the lake except at boat ramps, courtesy docks and any area marked as restricted or prohibited access. Many areas along the shore are marked specifically for fishing. Fishing piers are also located at several lake recreation areas.


Free Fishing Days
If you’ve ever wanted to try fishing or take the kids, June 1 and June 8 are the perfect days to test the waters. On these two days — Free Fishing Days in Georgia — no fishing license is required.

Free Fishing Tackle Loaner Program
With the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, you can “cast” away your worries whether you have fishing equipment or not. The program provides rods, reels and tackle box equipment free of charge for the day as long as the supply lasts. There’s no age limit for borrowing equipment, but children are expected to be with an adult. Visit for a list of participating parks.

All About the View

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

Seeing Clarks Hill Lake from their homes is mandatory for an extended Keg Creek family – and so is taking advantage of all the water sports the lake has to offer.

As self-described “water people,” members of the Hensley family knew they wanted a house with a view when they bought lakefront property on Keg Creek in 2010. For them, however, one of the best things about having an unobstructed view of Clarks Hill Lake is the means to share it.

And they take that sharing quite literally. After all, the property is home to not one, but two, Hensley families.

Brenda and Kent Hensley built a retirement home on the lakefront property in 2011. Their son, Daniel, and his wife, Sarah, built a home for themselves and their two children, Raymond and Janie, on the same site in 2012. The two houses are connected by an oversized carport that doubles as an entertainment venue with four ceiling fans, three hanging chairs, a bead board ceiling and plenty of space for friends and family to gather.

“Our goal was for every room to have a view of the lake,” says Brenda. “If you’re going to live at the lake, it’s all about the view. That’s what drew us to the property.”

Something About the Water
Brenda and Kent, who met at Richmond Academy before she was “old enough to date” and have been married for 45 years, have four children and 11 grandchildren. And lake life is a longstanding family tradition.

“I grew up on the lake. My parents had a house on Ridge Road,” says Brenda. “I learned to waterski before I learned to swim.”

The Hensleys’ lake house is a place for their grandchildren to enjoy the water as much as Brenda did when she was a young girl.

“My goal when children come here to play is to have them so tired that they’re asleep before they get off of Keg Creek Drive. And they usually are,” she says. “Something about the water makes you eat more and sleep more.”

To take advantage of the view of their liquid playground, a sunroom overlooking the lake has full-length windows that stretch across the back of the room.

“The house looks tiny with three windows in the front. The rest of the windows are across the back. It’s all about the view,” says Kent. “The first thing I do in the mornings is open the curtains. I like the natural light to come in, and I like to see the water from wherever I’m standing or sitting.”

The sunroom also features tile flooring, furniture with durable Sunbrella upholstery, tropical ceiling fans and two birdfeeders outside. Brenda’s favorite spot in the house is a chair in the sunroom.

“I can see the birdfeeders and the lake, and I can see who’s going out and who’s coming in,” she says. “We see headlights from the road and the lake.”

The trio of German antique glass windows in the custom-built-mahogany front door also were situated so that Brenda can see outside.

Sliding glass doors connect the sunroom to the master bedroom. The space also includes a trey ceiling, and Kent made the headboard for the bed out of a pallet.

“My wife suggested it, and then I found examples – where else? – on Pinterest,” he says. “She’s the idea person, and I’m the doer.”

With the open floorplan in the house, the lake view is visible from the kitchen and adjoining dining area as well.

The galley kitchen features a granite-topped peninsula beneath a hanging pot rack with lights, lots of drawer space, spice rack pullouts on each side of the oven, a tile backsplash, custom-built cabinets and a walk-in pantry.

“The countertop is a solid piece of granite with no seams,” says Brenda.

While the Hensleys like to entertain, playful signs around the house let guests know that they are welcome to make themselves at home. For instance, one sign posted in the kitchen says, “If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen.” And, says Kent, “One of the grandchildren did it.”

A gas fireplace is tucked into the corner of the adjoining dining area. “I love having the mantel to decorate. I’m constantly doing something with it,” says Brenda.

The room also features a round, distressed, pedestal Ernest Hemingway table. A granite lazy Susan, which was made from the same piece of granite as the kitchen countertop, sits in the middle of the table, and bonded leather chairs surround it.

“I needed something for wet people to sit on,” Brenda says.

Fun for All
The Hensleys offer plenty to do for people to get wet, and the basement is designed to accommodate them as well.

Serving as the “boat station,” built-in cubbies are full of flip flops of every size, stacks of beach towels and anything else anyone would need to enjoy the water. Brenda also keeps all kinds of bathing suits on hand so no one has an excuse to sidestep the water. Leaning against the cubbies, Kent’s wakesurf board is placed strategically to show off his nickname – “Granddaddy Shortlegs.”

The basement also includes a concrete floor (again, with dripping wet people in mind), a kitchenette with a tile backsplash and cabinetry that came from Brenda’s parents’ house, and a foosball table. A ping pong table is tucked away in a storage area.

A ladder hangs horizontally on a basement wall, and between each rung is a canvas photo of one of their grandchildren doing some sort of water activity such as wakeboarding, wake surfing, tubing, water skiing or jet skiing.

More of Kent’s handiwork can be found in the basement, where he built a queen-sized Murphy bed and the barn doors that conceal the bed and two storage rooms.

“Sometimes he has to warm up to the idea,” Brenda says of his home projects.

He doesn’t argue. “I have to be told, ‘Yes, you can do this,’” Kent says. “And I have to have the time.”

The Hensleys make time every year to have Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve parties for 100-plus people. When they entertain, they like to grill out and make homemade vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan ice cream. They serve the ice cream from the basement kitchenette, and everyone eats it on the screened-in porch. A 1946 claw foot tub that Brenda turned into a koi pond occupies space beneath stairs next to the porch.

When the Hensley families entertain, guests can stray back and forth between the two homes. “We serve in both houses,” says Sarah. “We’ll have the main meal in one house and dessert in the other.”

Casual & Comfortable
Of course, Sarah and Daniel’s home offers spectacular views of the lake as well. The family room features full-length windows that overlook Keg Creek, and double doors open onto a balcony.

A stained glass window hangs above the double doors. Sarah’s parents collected stained glass, and this piece, as well as one in the master bath, came from a turn-of-the-20th-century, Midwestern church.

The family room also features a stacked stone, wood-burning fireplace with a mantel made from a single piece of raw-edged cedar that their neighbor gave them when they moved into the house.

A wood column of Eastern cedar from a McCormick, South Carolina sawmill and carpeting provide separation to the family room from the adjoining dining area and kitchen in the open floorplan. The carpeting serves another purpose as well – it helps to keep down noise.

Oak flooring in the foyer, kitchen and dining area has boards that range from 1-1/2 inches to 5 inches in width. The flooring also features walnut inlays around the family room and in a medallion in the foyer. Two identical chests in the foyer were situated side-by-side to look like a china cabinet. An acrylic painting by Anne Downey, one of Sarah’s high school friends, hangs in the foyer as well.

Other accessories in the house showcase Sarah’s “affinity for mermaids.”

“I have mermaids all over the house,” she says.

She also passed along her love of mermaids to her daughter, which is evident by the décor in Janie’s room.

A live water creature has taken up residence in the kitchen where a goldfish swims in a bowl on the counter. The kitchen also features an Island with a granite countertop beneath two pendant lights, a decorative farmhouse sink with a fluted front and gooseneck nickel faucet, subway tile backsplash and chocolate glaze on white cabinets.

“I wanted a light and bright kitchen,” says Sarah.

She stores pots and pans in drawers in the island, and a microwave oven is tucked in the island as well.

The dining area has a door to the carport, and it also opens onto the covered porch where everyone seems to gather – whether they are visitors or live in the house.

“We have a very casual, comfortable house. We want to have a house where everybody likes to come,” says Sarah. “We want to share it with all our friends.”

Some of the artwork in the dining area is particularly meaningful to the family. A picture of Daniel’s late uncle Herbert, which is similar to a well-known photograph of a man with his head bowed over a loaf of bread, hangs above the doors. The original photograph called “Grace” was taken in the early 1900s by Minnesota photographer Eric Enstrom. The picture of Herbert was taken at an AA meeting 35 years ago. “It’s special to us,” Daniel says of the image.

A map of the Appalachian Trail also hangs on a dining area wall. Every fall Daniel and Raymond spend a few days hiking a portion of the trail.

In the carpeted master bedroom, walnut flooring occupies space in front of the fireplace, which features a cedar mantel with a finished edge. This wood also was a gift from their neighbor.

The room offers a view of Keg Creek, and lots of natural light seeps through the windows. Doors lead to another screened porch that overlooks the lake.

Water World
Of course, for the Hensleys, playing in the water is even better than looking at it. Daniel and family are competitive wakesurfers, and they organize the Clarks Hill Wakesurf Open in May each year.

For the uninitiated, wakesurfing is a water sport in which a rider trails behind a boat and rides the vessel’s wake without being pulled by the boat. After getting up on the wake, typically with a tow rope, the wakesurfer drops the rope and rides the steep face below the wave’s peak in a manner similar to surfing.

The Hensleys, who spend four or five days a week on the water, also give wakesurfing lessons every Thursday night during the summer at Wildwood Park.

“We’ve always loved the water. We get in the water March 1 and don’t get out until Christmas,” says Daniel. “I work three 12-hour days, and the other days I’m on the water. It’s so peaceful here.”

On those days he spends on the water, he always gets a phone call from Sarah as she’s on her way home from work so he’ll be ready for her to join him. “I go in the house, put on my bathing suit and step off the dock onto the boat,” she says.

In the rare times that Daniel isn’t on the lake, Kent has been known to get on a jet ski and flag down boats to take him wakesurfing. Sarah and Daniel also take their kids out in their wakeboard boat to a group of rocks on the shoreline so Raymond and Janie can jump into the lake where it is eight to 10 feet deep.

“This has been our dream that we never knew was possible,” Sarah says of living on the lake. “We love that our friends like to come here and share it with us.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Hiking, Biking, Canoeing or Horseback Riding 2019

Guide To The Lake

Hit the Trail
There are plenty of hiking, biking, canoeing and horseback riding trails to conquer at the lake. 

Bartram Trail – 18.5 miles
Columbia County
Entrances are at West Dam Park, Lake Springs, Petersburg Campground and Wildwood Park. The section from West Dam to Petersburg is a beginner trail while the others offer more climbing, creek crossings and technical challenges. Connects with Lake Springs Loop and links easily with Keg Creek and Rock Dam trails. Beginner-intermediate level.

Bussey Point Horse Trail – 12.4 miles
Bussey Point is a 2,545-acre peninsula at the confluence of the Savannah and Little rivers that caters to horse lovers. Closed to vehicular traffic, there are more than 20 miles of well-marked wooded equestrian trails and natural-surfaced roads to ride on. Campsites near the trail are designed for campers with horses and trailers, and include highlines for tethering. The roads and trails throughout the area also are open to hikers and mountain bikers.

Catfish Peninsula – 6.5 miles
McCormick County
Catfish Peninsula is a 1,070-acre peninsula along the Savannah River portion of the lake. The area contains 10 trail roads that branch out through the area. The area contains six food plots and several old stands of large pine and hardwood. Note: There are no trail signs in the area.

Cliatt Creek Nature Loop – 3.75 miles
Located in Mistletoe State Park ($5/car park pass), this remote trail is marked with white blazes. Grades are a little steep, and there are a few obstacles. The footbridges at most water crossings are wide enough for bikes, although the approaches are difficult. Part of the trail follows Cliatt Creek through a hardwood forest as it flows toward the lake, while another section wanders through woods with a gentle series of dips and rolls.

Dozier Branch – 2 miles
Lincoln County
From the canoe launching area, go downstream along Dozier Branch to where it joins Grey’s Creek. Go north along Grey’s Creek until the water is too shallow to go any further. These creeks are not accessible to most power boats and provide excellent fishing. There are no trail markers on these canoe trails. Extra caution should be used during periods of high stream flows.

Forks Area Trail System (FATS) – 37 miles
Sumter National Forest
A series of six different loops through a thickly forested area makes this a great system for beginner to intermediate riders. Generally beginner friendly, the optional lines provide challenges for more experienced riders. Although hilly, there are not many climbs that require a lot of effort or dismounts.

Hickory Knob Trails — 10.2 miles
Multiple loops and fast trails are fun and challenging for the intermediate rider. Located in Hickory Knob State Park, the Lake Loop is 7 miles, Turkey Ridge is a 1.7-mile loop and Beaver Run is a 2.5-mile out-and-back. 

Keg Creek Trail – 9.2 miles
This trail, marked with yellow blazes, is a fun ride full of roots, dips, bridges and creek crossings that are technical enough to be challenging but easy enough for fairly novice riders. Some of the creek crossings are easy; some are difficult. Connects with Bartram Trail at Wildwood Park and links with Rock Dam Trail by less than 3 miles of paved road. Intermediate level. 

Lake Springs Loop – 2.5 miles
Columbia County
Located in the Lake Springs Recreation Area ($5 parking), this paved interpretive trail, marked with white blazes, is a spur off of Bartram Trail (marked with yellow blazes). Secondary trails identified with red blazes allow visitors to explore the Lake Springs shoreline. The trail connects the four peninsulas that make up the park and ends at an observation tower overlooking the lake. 

Little River Blueway Outdoor Adventure Area – 51 miles
Located at the convergence of Little River and Clarks Hill Lake in Sumter National Forest, the Blueway offers 51 miles of trails for canoe, kayak and standup paddleboard enthusiasts to explore. The trail system includes five main routes and 23 contiguous sections that offer easy access to protected lands and waterways. Upper sections of the water routes are surrounded by national forest land, where paddlers can see abundant wildlife. The lower sections along the Little River and open water sections on Clarks Hill, which are buffered by U.S. Army Corps of Engineer lands, include coves for paddlers to explore. There are no trail markers on these canoe trails. Extra caution should be used during periods of high stream flows.

Modoc (Stevens Creek) – 5.5 miles
ModocAn out-and-back trail for intermediate or advanced riders, this trail is best known for its multiple creek and ditch crossings. It is one of the most technically challenging trails in the area.

Rock Dam Trail – 13 miles
Located in Mistletoe State Park ($5/car park pass), with access via the Cliatt Creek Nature Loop, this trail is marked with blue blazes and will challenge even the most seasoned rider with several creek crossings, a gully ride and a long, rocky, rooty extremely off-camber climb. Most riders prefer the loop in the clockwise direction. Multiple loops; intermediate/advanced level.

Shriver Creek – 3.25 miles
Lincoln County
Shriver Creek is a 900-acre peninsula along the Savannah River portion of the lake. The area contains six trail roads that branch out through the area. Most trails go to or pass one of six food plots. Longleaf pine trees are common. Note: There are no trail signs in the area.

Wildwood Park – 12 miles
Wildwood includes up to 12 miles of wooded trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The more advanced biking portion of Bartram Trail from Petersburg to Wildwood Park offers nine miles of fast single-track challenges. A brisk ride through Wildwood takes riders to nearly eight miles of more technical obstacles of Keg Creek. Entry is $3 per day per car, truck or motorcycle. The entry fee for vehicles with a horse trailer is $6 per horse per day.

Parks & Campgrounds

Guide To The Lake

Come play for the day or spend the night. Along with campsites, most of these parks feature picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, boat ramps, fishing piers, docks, restrooms and swim beaches. When it’s time to catch some zzz’s, you can rest easy — there are more than 1,400 places for tent, RV, cottage or cabin overnight stays.

Baker Creek State Park
50-site campground with water and electricity ($20-$27 per night), primitive group camping area available, restrooms, showers, 10-mile mountain bike trail, nature trail, boat ramps, fishing, picnic area and shelters, grills, drinking water, pavilion, volleyball, basketball, horseshoe pit, ranger station, dump station, camp store. (864) 443-2457. 

Big Hart Campground & Recreation Area
31 waterfront campsites with water and electricity ($24-$26 per night), showers, flush and vault toilets, swimming beach, drinking water, picnic sites, picnic shelter with large grill ($75/day), playground, boat ramp, dock, fish-cleaning station, dump station. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. (706) 595-8613.

Broad River Park & Campground
Lincoln County
Single, double and triple campsites available with water and electricity ($20 each); boat ramp; restrooms; showers; fish-cleaning stations; dump station. Admission is $5 per car. Annual park pass $40. (706) 359-2053. 

Bussey Point
14 waterfront primitive campsites large enough for horse trailers ($10 per night), highlines for tethering horses, picnic area, fire rings and grills, hiking trails, mountain biking, beaches, boat ramp, central well with hand pump for drinking water, more than 20 miles of well-marked wooded equestrian trails and natural surfaced roads for riding, free parking. (864) 333-1100. 

Clay Hill Campground
10 campsites with water and electricity ($20 per night), 7 primitive campsites ($18 per night), $40 annual park pass. Showers, restrooms, boat ramp, fishing, grill, fire pit, picnic area, free parking. Located on the north side of Georgia’s Little River section. Shoreline offers excellent fishing for bluegill and other species of bream. (706) 359-7495. 

Elijah Clark State Park
165 RV and trailer sites ($30/site/night), pioneer camping ($35 and up), 10 walk-in tent sites ($20), 20 cottages ($150), 4 picnic shelters ($30), 2 group shelters ($80-$200), miniature golf ($4), canoe and kayak rentals ($15 for 4 hours or $25 for all day), boat ramps, fishing pier, fish-cleaning station, playgrounds, swimming beach, picnic areas, hiking trails, geocaching, trading post camp store, educational programs. (706) 359-3458. 

Hamilton Branch State Park
Plum Branch
173 waterfront campsites with water/electricity ($21-$27 per night), 11 tent sites with water only, primitive group camping area, restrooms, showers, boat ramps, fishing, playground, picnic area, shelters, bike trail, dump station. (864) 333-2223. 

Hawe Creek Campground
34 waterfront RV and tent campsites with water and electricity ($24-$26/night), showers, flush and vault toilets, boat ramp, drinking water, trash collection. Five miles from Hickory Knob State Park. (864) 443-5441. 

Hesters Ferry Campground
Lincoln County
16 waterfront RV campsites with water and electricity ($18 per night), 10 waterfront tent campsites ($16 per night), showers, restrooms, picnic area, dump station. Located on Fishing Creek, which is known for some of the best fishing on the lake. (706) 359-2746.

Hickory Knob State Resort Park
44 RV and tent campsites with water and electricity ($22-$26 per night), 16 duplex cabins ($88-$120 per night), 76 lodge and motel rooms ($72-$100 per night), barracks for up to 13 people ($130-$172 per night), Guillebeau house ($97-$135), showers, boat ramp, dock, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, playground, swimming pool, restaurant, store and gift shop, hiking and mountain bike trails, lakeside championship golf course, practice putting green, tennis, archery, skeet shooting, meeting rooms ($125-$170 per day), convention center ($210-$280 per day), meeting barn ($310-$384 per day), Wi-Fi. Open 24 hours. (800) 491-1764.

LeRoys Ferry Campground
10 primitive campsites without water or electrical hookups ($6), boat ramp with security light, rustic toilets, a hand pump for drinking water, grill, picnic table and fire ring. Pets allowed. Open all year. (800) 533-3478. 

Mistletoe State Park
93 RV, trailer and tent sites ($27-$32 per night); 3 backcountry campsites ($10); pioneer campground ($75); 4 walk-in campsites ($15); tent cabin (sleeps 4, $55 per night); 11 cottages ($150-$165/night); 4 picnic shelters ($35/day); 2 group shelters ($75-$155); beach house (seats 75, $95-$250); boat ramps; canoe rentals; fishing; dock; swimming beach; biking and hiking trails; bird watching; geocaching and planned park activities. (706) 541-0321. 

Modoc Campground
70 waterfront RV campsites with water and electricity ($18-$26 per night), showers, flush and vault toilets, coin-operated laundry facilities, boat ramp, playground, hiking trails, picnic shelter, drinking water, dump station. Five miles from Thurmond Visitor Center. (864) 333-2272. 

Petersburg Campground
93 waterfront RV and tent campsites ($18-$26 per night), most with water and electricity; showers; flush and vault toilets; drinking water; boat ramp; two swimming beaches; fishing dock and cleaning stations; hiking trail; playground; picnic shelter; coin-operated laundry facilities; dump station; trash collection. Four miles from Thurmond Visitor Center. (706) 541-9464. 

Plum Branch Yacht Club
Plum Branch
63 waterfront RV campsites with water and electricity, primitive campsites, covered and uncovered moorage and dry storage, fuel, boat ramp, beach, ship’s store, Lakeside Grill restaurant, bathhouse, restrooms, pavilions. (864) 443-3000. 

Pointes West Army Resort
58 waterfront campsites with water and electricity ($14-$20 per night); 20 waterfront campsites with electricity only ($10 per night); primitive campsites ($7 per night); waterfront cottages, cabins and rustic motel suites; camper rentals; pontoon boat rentals; beach; picnic tables; grill; fire ring; country store; swimming; playgrounds; bathhouse; boat ramps; fishing; boat storage sheds and slips; camper storage; camping equipment rental; conference center; 10 pavilions; hiking with Bartram Trail access. Military or government ID required. (706) 541-1057. 

Raysville Campground
55 campsites with water and electricity ($20-$24), boat ramp, fire pit, grill, showers, TV/cable hookup, dump station. Within a mile of Amity Recreation Area, which has numerous beaches, picnic shelters and ball field. (706) 595-6759. 

Ridge Road Campground
69 RV campsites with water and electricity, plus 6 tent sites ($18-$24 per night); showers; flush and vault toilets; drinking water; boat ramp; playground; swimming beach; picnic area; fish-cleaning station; dock; grill; fire pit; coin-operated laundry station; dump station; trash collection; TV/cable hookup. (706) 541-0282.

Soap Creek Campground
30 RV campsites with water and electricity, primitive camping, 5 lakeside cottage rentals, slip rentals, electrical hookups, water, boat ramps, fuel, restrooms, bathhouse, ship’s store, beach, picnic area, hiking trails, event center and meeting rooms, free wireless Internet. (706) 359-4100. 

Wildwood Park
Run by the Columbia County Recreation Department, this 975-acre park is open year-round and located 1.5 miles from Pollard’s Corner. It includes 61 RV and tent campsites ($20 per night per RV and $10 per night per tent), 6-lane mega boat ramps, camper storage ($30 per month), shower and restroom facilities, docks, beach area, 7 covered pavilions ($150-$200), 3 championship disc golf courses ($5-$6 per day), playgrounds, fishing, weigh-in station and horse riding trails. Home of the International Disc Golf Association Headquarters and Hall of Fame. Park admission is $3 per car, truck or motorcycle per day or $30 for an annual unlimited admission pass; $6 per day for a vehicle with a boat/watercraft ($30 annual pass); $20 per day per bus and $6 per day for vehicles with a horse trailer. Seasonal passes and senior discounts available. For park pass information and camping reservations, call (706) 541-0586 or register online at

Winfield Campground
80 RV and tent campsites with water and electricity ($26 per night), showers, flush and vault toilets, boat ramp, beach, drinking water, playground, dump station, ice and camping essentials available for purchase at the gatehouse. Located on Little River near Mistletoe State Park. (706) 541-0147.



Recreation Areas
(No Campgrounds)
All parks at the lake are open for daytime visitors. These additional recreation areas, open only during the day, feature picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, boat ramps, fishing piers, docks, restrooms and swim beaches.

Amity Recreation Area
Lincoln County
Boat ramp, fishing pier, comfort station, drinking water, picnic area, 3 picnic shelters, beaches and swimming area, playground, nature trails, baseball field, dock. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (706) 359-4444.

Below Dam Recreation Area
McCormick County
Across from Thurmond Visitor Center. Boat ramp, comfort station, drinking water, picnic area and shelters, mini shelters, fishing pier, playground. No swimming or wading due to strong currents. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (864) 333-1147.

Cherokee Recreation Area
Boat ramp, dock, restrooms, picnic area, picnic shelters ($75 per day), drinking water, playground, nature trails, swim beach. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual park pass $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Just across Little River Bridge. (706) 359-5525 or (706) 359-5523.

Clarks Hill Park Recreation Area
Boat ramp, dock, fishing pier, fish cleaning station, picnic areas, picnic shelters ($10-$125 per day), mini shelters ($10-$20 per day, no electricity), drinking water, restrooms, 2 swimming areas, hiking trails. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (877) 444-6777. 

Eddie Fletcher Memorial Park
Boat ramp, picnic area, swimming beach, restrooms. Open 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Located at Soap Creek. (706) 359-7970.

Gill Point Recreation Area
Lincoln County
Boat ramp, dock, picnic area, picnic shelter, drinking water, restrooms. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 6 a.m.-10 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (800) 533-3478. 

Keg Creek Wildlife Management Area
Two miles from Pollard’s Corner. Open to hunting seasonally (hunting and fishing license required), interpretive trail, fishing, hiking, bird watching, canoe access, picnicking, observation tower, boat ramp, dock. (706) 595-4222.

Lake Springs Recreation Area
Three miles from Pollard’s Corner. Boat ramp, dock, fishing pier, fish-cleaning station, drinking water, restrooms, picnic areas, 4 picnic shelters ($75-$125 per day), 13 swim beaches, playground, volleyball, horseshoe pits, walking and biking trails, Bartram Trail entrance point. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (800) 533-3478. 

Parksville Recreation Area
Boat ramp, fish-cleaning station, picnic area, 2 shelters ($50-$125 per day), 2 beaches, playground, ball field, restrooms. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For shelter reservations, call (800) 533-3478.

West Dam Recreation Area
Restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds, shelter ($125 per day), 10 mini shelters ($10 per day), 7 beaches, fishing, Bartram Trail entrance point. Entrance fee is $5 per car. Annual pass is $40. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. One mile from Thurmond Visitor Center. For shelter reservations, call (800) 533-3478.

Pinball Paddling


Stroke and squeeze your way through an arcade of cypress trees as you kayak in George L. Smith State Park.

“Let’s paddle closer to the alligator!”

As I hear myself say those words out loud, I laugh. I’m not one to ignore dangers of the wild. After all, they’re no game. But when spotting an alligator across an open clearing on Mill Pond while hosting a friend from Sweden on his first visit to Georgia, I’m willing to narrow the gap a few dozen yards so Hans can get a better look.

The creature’s eyes gaze back at us over the water’s dark surface as he glides from the open water toward a cluster of majestic cypress trees along the distant shore. We pause in our kayaks. None of us blink. He then slips from view.

“Incredible!” says Hans. Wild alligators can be spotted routinely in wet regions of southern Georgia—the state is home to about 200,000 of the 200-million-year-old species—but there are none in Sweden.

Choose Your Route
Though alligators swim in the 412-acre Mill Pond lake at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City, Georgia, it’s safe to boat in this water as long as you follow guidelines and use common sense — in fact, it’s part of the Georgia State Park’s Paddlers Club. And part of navigating the pond with common sense is relying on an experienced guide company such as Wesley Hendley’s Mill Pond Kayak tours, which weave through 10 miles of black water trails.

For nearly 10 years Hendley has made the experience easy and accessible, providing kayaks, paddles, floatation vests, instructions and guidance. He also snaps photos throughout the trip to share with his guests at no additional charge.

Paddling this otherworldly setting is a unique challenge of maneuvering between moss-draped cypress trees. It’s like a giant pinball game, and you’re the ball. Some areas are a tight squeeze — to fit you may need to lift the paddle over your head and swing it parallel with the kayak. But there’s no current or tide to worry about, and almost no other boat traffic, so the water is smooth and easy to master.

The lake has natural niches and alcoves with different tree density, lighting, moods. Shadows play on water, light juts between branches. Because the place is so serene and tranquil, it’s hard not to relax. If paddlers somehow are separated from the group (which is unlikely), it would be hard for them to actually get lost. “It’s a pond,” says Hendley. “So you can paddle to shore and then along the shoreline in any one direction and eventually will end up back at the dock.” Still, it’s comforting to explore with a guide who knows the best routes to navigate in two or three hours.

Each tour is paced to suit participants’ skills and interests, weather and conditions, as well as energy levels. “I basically see two types of groups,” says Hendley. “Some go slowly, so it’s quiet and serene to soak up the surrounding environment. Others, especially youth groups, want to get rowdy out there, playing, splashing and sometimes swimming. The experiences are totally different, but I enjoy both. I enjoy getting to know people.”

Paddlers can get the sort of experience they prefer – even a private one. Hendley schedules groups separately, and he won’t even pair up families without prior permission.

Mill Pond Kayak welcomes people of all ages on its tours, which typically run March 1 through November 30. In September 2018, however, Mill Pond was drained in order to repair the dam. The lake will be restocked with fish and reopened, as weather permits, sometime this spring. “We’re at the mercy of the rainfall,” says Hendley.

The company also offers guided kayak trips on the nearby Ogeechee and Ohoopee rivers when water levels are favorable. As for the Mill Pond tour, though, “Anybody willing to give this a try can do this and enjoy it,” says Hendley, who counts infants, senior citizens and folks with a variety of special needs among his former guests. “I have tandem kayaks so people who can’t paddle can ride with me or someone else in the group. You don’t have to be physically able — I’ve had some people in their 80s and 90s paddle, which is impressive and inspiring to see.”

Some paddlers might favor the lower part of the lake where trees are more spaced out. On hot days, the shady upper part may rank as most appealing. “Some people prefer to avoid tree obstacles, some people really think they’re cool,” says Hendley. Whatever the route, you can take your time and appreciate the surrounding natural wonders.

Photos courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Wesley Hendley Mill Pond Kayak

Mill Around with Mother Nature
And Mother Nature does not disappoint. Turtles line up on fallen branches. A white ibis nests overhead. Osprey, egret, heron and anhinga swoop in and out of view. Woodpeckers tap on trees. Ducks and non-venomous brown water snakes float around. Bream, crappie, redbreast and bass swim in the water. Occasionally, white tail deer walk the shoreline. The threatened gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake live on the sand ridges surrounding the lake.

In addition to its natural wonders, George L. Smith State Park boasts the refurbished Parrish Mill, a combination grist mill, saw mill, covered bridge and dam built in 1880. One of only two grist mills in working order and in operation by the state of Georgia, it’s capable of grinding as much as 200 pounds of corn an hour (now limited to demonstrations only).

Reservoirs for water-powered mills, ponds like this one used to be common but have mostly disappeared as technology has changed. Before the state park was established, this pond was privately owned for about 100 years and has been referred to by locals as Parrish Pond and Watson Mill Pond for its previous owners. At the state park you can walk through the covered bridge and read placards to learn more. The park also offers 11 miles of hiking trails, though the mill and its pond are the park’s most stunning showpieces.

Kayakers could spend a few hours paddling and leave, but longer visits can be even more relaxing. George L. Smith State Park offers 25 tent, trailer and RV campsites, plus eight cottages. The cottages have been recently updated and are better appointed than some hotel rooms. They’re easy to share with a friend. Hans and I each snagged a private bedroom and bathroom while sharing a living room, screened porch and full-service kitchen. The cottage was clean, comfy and homey.

Reflecting on our experience, Hans says, “That was the best nature experience of my life!” High praise, considering how frequently he travels for outdoor treks. “The cypress’ fat, swollen root balls just above the waterline are truly wonderful,” he says. “Navigating the narrow, winding ways in between all the cypresses is so much fun.”

With such beautiful surroundings, it’s easy to envy the alligators who get to live in such a place.

More information is available from George L. Smith State Park at (478) 763-2759 or or Mill Pond Kayak at (478) 299-6616 or

By Hope S. Philbrick


Gateway Storage

Men At Work

After 30 years in the military, Gerald Havens decided to  make Augusta his home. In 2009 he and business partner Tim Grooms opened Gateway Storage off of Exit 190 in Grovetown.

“There wasn’t much here other than a gas station and the Waffle House,” says Gerald, who has co-owned the business with Tim’s wife, Linda, since Tim’s passing in 2012.

Gateway Storage has more than 400 storage units in a variety of sizes ranging from 25 square feet to 400 square feet and more than 160 parking spaces. The business also offers Budget moving truck rental services, an onsite UPS shipping store and a packaging shop complete with boxes, tape and bubble wrap. Other services include:
• Climate and non-climate controlled units
• Boat and RV storage
• Lights, fencing, security cameras and computerized gate access
• 10 percent military discount

475 Lewiston Road Grovetown | (706) 814-5761

Al Kane Stone & Stucco Projects

Men At Work

Get your dreams set in stone by the experts.

Al Kane has been providing a tradition of craftsmanship and quality in the area for 37 years. As an experienced stone and stucco installer, he offers confidence and peace of mind that you will be delighted with your finished project.

Specialties include:

• Patios • Fireplaces • Fire Pits • Outdoor Kitchens • Walkways • Decorative Walls • Retaining Walls • Water Gardens • Pool Decks • Flagstone • Stacked Stone
• Synthetic Stone • Stucco • Stained & Sealed Concrete


New Builds & Remodels
Residential & Commercial
Free On-Site Estimates
All Work Guaranteed

(706) 829-9245

Bob’s Tropical Fish

Men At Work

One of the younger clients at Bob’s Tropical Fish once made the comment that their fish seem happier than the fish she saw in other stores. Store founder Bob Hockman and his team laughed about it, but the more they talked about it, the more plausible it became. Bob’s fish are happier … because they’re healthier.

With more than 27 years of experience, Bob has an uncanny knack for buying the right fish and making sure they are in perfect health before they are ever offered for sale. This attention to detail results in a better aquarium or water garden at your home or business.

Explore their website or visit their retail store and water garden center in Martinez. You will be amazed at the huge selection of fish, plants, aquariums, equipment, supplies and the South’s largest display water garden. • Pond Supplies • Reef Accessories • Aquariums • Fresh Water Fish • Saltwater Fish and Much More If you don’t see what you want, ask any of the staff for special order items. Bob has established relationships with the premiere manufacturers and distributors in the industry and can source most any item you need for fishkeeping of any kind.

3563 River Watch Parkway
(706) 863-9478

Hours: Mon – fri 10am – 7 pm | sat 1pm – 6pm