Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Fort Frederica, located on St. Simons Island, is 12 miles from Brunswick, Georgia.  It is an archaeological site, that was once a flourishing military town.  The military town was founded by James Edward Oglethorpe, who led the Georgia colony for its first decade.  The town gets its name from King George's only son, called Frederick. 

From 1736 to 1749, the fort and its regimental garrison were the hub of British military operations on Georgia's frontier.  This photo is a double exposure of the British flag flying at Fort Frederica, along with one of the brass placards that mark the site.

The facility is under the management of the National Park Service ( ), and includes an indoor theater where visitors can see a video that gives a historical overview of the time period during which Fort Frederica was in operation (left photo in collage).  Besides the indoor exhibit hall of artifacts from the site, there are also explanatory placards located throughout the grounds, that help the viewer understand the archaeological sites they are viewing (right side of collage).

As is the case for many of the old structures on the barrier islands of Georgia, the building units for the fort were wood, brick, and a substance called "tabby".  Tabby is a crude concrete made of burnt oyster shells, and is pictured in this photo collage.

Like Savannah, Frederica was a planned town, built by the "worthy poor" who Oglethorpe and fellow trustees transplanted to the New World colony, from England.  As such, it was a thoroughly English town of spacious streets and substantial houses, in the Georgian style.  Broad Street divided the town into north and south wards. 

Certain areas of the current site have wooden outlines that show where the foundation of a particular structure was located.  The white material within the foundations consists of recycled oyster shells.

When I visited Fort Frederica, I was with a travel group called Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel).  This photo shows our guide (in the red shirt) telling us a bit of the history of the families that occupied the structure that was on this site, as indicated by the foundation remains.  Notice, we do not have to cluster closely around the guide, in order to hear what he is saying.

We were able to hear all of the explanations by our guide, thanks to the microphone/transmitter that he was wearing, and the receivers that each Road Scholar participant was given at the start of the program.  These devices were furnished as a part of our Road Scholar participation, and stayed with us the entire six days that we attended. This photo shows me holding my receiver, which was easy to operate, and hung from a lanyard around my neck.  It was equipped with an ear phone that rested comfortably on my ear lobe.  This was a FANTASTIC innovation for a person like me who wants to learn from what the guide is saying, but also likes to "wander" around the perimeter, in order to get good group photos!

While some of the folks in our group were looking down at the archaeological excavation sites, some of us were looking up at the "ceiling" above us that was formed by the mighty branches of the live oak trees, with the cascading Spanish moss dripping off every inch of horizontal space available on the massive trees.

The site is so large that a person could walk for hours exploring every inch, or alternatively, they could simply sit on one of the shaded park benches, and imagine a bustling town of soldiers, settlers, and families, working to make a life for themselves in the early days of our country.

This photo shows an overview of what remains of the fort's magazine (for guns and ammunition), with the Frederica River in the background, and the British flag waving on a tree-made flagstaff pole.

Our guide told us that the original fort was square, with bastions on each corner, and separated from the town by a palisade and moat.  

The records tell us that the first settlers planted trees, writing that in time they would have "a very pretty effect on the view, and render...the town pleasingly shady."  This photo indicates that the town site is, in deed, "pleasingly shady"!

The fort was equipped with canons called "18 Pounders", and could defend the fort from attacks via the river.

General Oglethorpe looms large in Georgia history.  In 1720's England, there was a wave of sentiment to remedy the plight of thousands of poor people drifting without jobs or languishing in debtors' jail.  To salvage these "worthy poor", James Oglethorpe petitioned the Crown for a land grant in the colonies, south of the Savannah River.  Oglethorpe received the grant, set sail, and landed in Georgia, with a shipload of 114 people, in 1733.

Joining in this benevolent venture, were John and Charles Wesley, who were leaders in the evangelical Christian movement of that time, and founders of the Methodist Church.  Since the Wesleys used their mouths to tell others of the Lord's faithfulness, I am using this image as a visual aid for one of my First Place 4 Health ( )  memory verses.  Psalm 89:1-2 says "I will sing of the LORD'S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself."  The Wesleys made the trip from England to the colonies in the New World, because their belief was that "The world is my parish", and not just a few square miles in  comfortable homes around England.  I read another quote that is attributed to John Wesley (1703 - 1791), and it seems like an excellent reminder for a "task oriented" person like myself. It says: "Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can...."  Fulfilling that philosophy of life, should keep me motivated from here to eternity!

If you would like to start planning your own trip to this area, visit for more information.  Likewise, if you are a lifelong learner, who enjoys traveling to new places and meeting new people, check out the hundreds of trips available through the Road Scholar organization ( ).  No matter what your interest is, or where you want to go, there is probably a Road Scholar trip that will facilitate your interests and destination!  Whether you go alone, in a group, or with your family, a trip to the Golden Isles of Georgia will give you "Miles of Golden Smiles"!!  Tricia

Monday, May 26, 2014


There are lots of folks who know  the White River in north central Arkansas is famous for its fishing, but did you know that it is also a fun river to kayak??!!

Kayaks can be rented at the boat dock located at Bull Shoals/White River State Park.  They can also provide a shuttle service to pick you up at various locations down river, depending on how long you want your kayak trip to be.  You can phone the park at 870-445-3629 to inquire about rates, reserve a kayak, and arrange shuttle pickups.

As our group of five was floating down the river recently on Memorial Day, I was thanking God for the opportunity to be enjoying this beautiful area where I live, while at the same time---remembering that on Memorial Day, I am thanking the U.S. Military Veterans, who have fought, so that we can live freely in this great land of opportunity!

My friend Diane took this photo of me, and I am giving it a caption from Psalm 63:4 that says "Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in your name."

The amount of paddling that one has to do on a trip down the White River, depends on how many generators are running at the Bull Shoals Dam.  One can phone the park ahead of time to find out this information, although it may fluctuate widely throughout any given period of time.

It was nice to get to include one of the lady's sons on our float trip, who was visiting the area from his home in Mississippi. 

On your journey down the White River, you will pass several private docks, private homes, and commercial docks. 

One of the things I learned in a kayaking class I took through the state park, was NOT to try to dock your kayak on the upstream side of any floating dock.  Such a maneuver can cause an instant capsize, depending on how fast the river is flowing.  Rather, our teacher told us to dock our kayak on the downstream side of floating docks, to reduce the chances of the boat filling up with water.

I like to look out at all the folks on the White River, when I am a customer INSIDE the restaurant at Gaston's Resort ( ), but it also fun to wave to the diners inside the restaurant when one if floating by OUTSIDE, as well!  I like it when they wave back at me!
There are some bald eagle nests along the river, and this bald eagle was kind enough not to fly off, as I was trying to take its photo.  I don't take a really expensive camera with me on the water, hence I did not have a long telephoto lens to get a close-up look, but this is just a reminder to say that you will most likely see eagles, herons, and a variety of other feathered friends on a cruise down the stream.

Our group was fortunate to have enough suitably equipped vehicles, that we did not have to pay for a commercial shuttle service.  Diane was able to successfully load three kayaks in the back of her truck, at our take-out spot, called "White Hole".

An important aspect of the loading process is to secure the boats, so they do not fall out, and endanger vehicles following you. 

It was nice to have a tall and strong young man to help load the kayaks on top of Susie's RAV4!

Our group was able to work together to get the kayaks secure for the drive back to the Bull Shoals State Park starting point, without any damage to the kayaks, the transporting vehicles, or other vehicles on the highway!  Praise the Lord!   If you would like to learn more about the myriad of fun activities available at Bull Shoals White River State Park ( or any of the dozens of other Arkansas State Parks!), just log on to
I can guarantee that visiting one of these beautiful state parks will bring you "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


"outdoorsy" looking contingent of ladies are part of a "paddling affinity group" that participate in an assortment of kayaking trips on the lakes and streams of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. 

Apparently, the name/activities of the group has stirred up curiosity, as we had a couple of members of the press accompany us on a recent trip.  This photo shows photojournalist Kevin Pieper taking our group photo at the beginning of the adventure.  Kevin was there on assignment from the Baxter Bulletin ( ) to get images to accompany an article being planned for the newspaper's healthy lifestyle magazine, called Living Well.

Each outing has a designated leader, to ensure that all participants are wearing their required personal flotation device, and the leader asks that none of the ladies get out in front of her.  Likewise, there is a designated lady to be the "sweep", or last person in the group, to be sure no one is unintentionally left behind.

The Buffalo National River ( ) has several access and takeout areas, but the tricky part is getting enough cars at the take out point to return the kayakers to their vehicles left at the starting point.  Fortunately, the Internet and various social media sites have made this process easier than it was back in the days when the Buffalo River first became a national park!

Our group floated on a weekday, which is less crowded than floating the river on a busy spring weekend.  We had plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the scenery!

journalist accompanying Kevin Pieper on this trip is (partially!) shown in this photo.  Her name is Chandra, and she is also the one who took the first two photos on this blog.  You can tell she did a better job with her photos than I did, as I didn't get the camera aligned properly to include all of her lovely face!

We were fortunate to still get to see a few dogwoods in bloom along the bluffs we went past.

I have had people ask where the name "WHOyaker" originated, so here is the story, as I understand it:

Several years ago, a group of ladies in the Twin Lakes area started meeting regularly once per week to hike some of the dozens of trails we are blessed with.  For example, they hiked the trail that is on top of this bluff amidst the pine trees you can see.  They called themselves the "Women Hiking the Ozarks", or "W.H.O." for short. 

The women did not usually hike in the summer, because of the intense heat, humidity, TICKS, and CHIGGERS, that make climbing up the hills and switchbacks, somewhat less enjoyable.  Therefore, that same W.H.O. group of hikers started planning kayak outings for the summer months, and came up with the name "WHOyakers"!!  So now you know "the rest of the story"!

you think kayaking is something you might enjoy trying, I would recommend signing up for a kayaking class in the area where you live.  One way to find out where and when such a class might be offered, if going to the website of your state parks system.  For example, when I typed "kayak" into the search box on the Arkansas State Parks website ( ), there were 591 results, telling about various kayaking events around the state.  I have participated in some of these, most notably, the FANTASTIC overnight kayaking trips put on each spring and autumn at Lake Ouachita State Park near Hot Springs.  I would heartily recommend that event for ladies, gents, kids, and families! (see posts dated Oct. 26, 2008; May 21, 2013; May 22, 2013)   Likewise, I am scheduled to participate in a kayak event sponsored by the Bull Shoals White River State Park, on May 31, 2014.  You can phone 1-870-445-3629 for registration details for those classes. 

I have been a fan of Kevin Pieper's work for years, and felt really fortunate to get to spend the day observing him in action!  He is quite a skilled outdoorsman, which is fortunate, considering the expensive camera equipment he had around his neck during the trip!   I have a copy of Kevin's wildflower poster on display in my home, and he also has a photo book published, which you can order from his website .  Besides being a photojournalist, his college degree is in zoology, so he was quick to point out the bald eagles, herons, hawks, and other wildlife we saw along our journey down the Buffalo.

There are numerous gravel bars along the river, where it is easy to pull your kayak out, and have a "shore lunch".

Although it was not chilly, one of the ladies built a campfire to gather around, just for the ambiance!

If you are a woman, and would like to spend more time enjoying God's great outdoors, but you don't have a clue as to how to start, I would recommend that you look up a program called "Becoming an Outdoor Woman".  I have participated in their weekend events in the states of Missouri, Oregon, and Arkansas, and they have been FANTASTIC!  ( See blog posts on Sept. 23, 2008, for more info).  One gets to take classes in a variety of outdoor activities, and find out ( in a non-threatening environment!) if they enjoy a particular sport.  I have tried out snowmobiling, cross country skiing, chainsaw operation, shooting sports, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, backpacking, fly fishing, survival training, and others I can't remember!  If you go to this website, you will find that most states have a program, so you just click on the state you are interested in, to find out the information: .

Likewise, some state parks offer outdoor weekends for women, that can give you a sampling of a variety of sports.  I have had the good fortune to attend such weekends at Lake Catherine State Park ( October 15, 2013, blog post) and Bull Shoals/White River State Park.  There are lots of photos and information about the BSWR event on the blog posts dated October 7, 2009, and March 6, 2013.

Kayaking for me is a "rush"and sometimes scary, but for some people, it is total relaxation!  One of the ladies seems to be enjoying an afternoon snooze when we stopped to stretch our legs!

group made it safely to our take out point at Gilbert, Arkansas, and found a person to take this group photo that included Kevin.  He had earned his title of "Honorary WHOyaker"!

One has to be a "water watcher" if they plan a trip on the Buffalo National River.  Since it is one of the few streams remaining in the USA that does not have a dam on it, there can be wide variations in its water levels.  I find it interesting that this phenomena of varying water levels is even mentioned in the Bible!  Psalms 126:4 says "Bring back our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South."  The explanation for this verse in the Jeremiah Study Bible ( ) is that the streams in the south dry up in the summer heat and swell in the autumn and winter rains.  The psalmist pleads with God to swell the streams of Israel's returnees, until all are back from captivity.  Just as it was true in the southern parts of the Holy Lands, so it is true for the southern parts of the USA!    So when you are considering a float trip on the Buffalo, look up at the skies, and down at the water levels, and you are sure to have  "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia