Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Road Trip Saturday to Guntersville State Park

Part 2 of 2, Road Trip Saturday

It was after lunch when we headed up the mountain to Guntersville State Park. With binocculars in hand, I had high hopes of seeing a bald eagle. Guntersville has several bald eagles that live in the area, and as a bird watcher, it was a site that would tickle me pick, to see our national symbol in freedom flight. It was not to be on this day. However, there was much more to see at the park. As we winded past the beautiful golf course, I noticed a few deer in the rough off the greens, a wonderful site. Just across from the golf course was the lodge.

The state of Alabama has spent millions of dollars in upgrades to the lodge and it shows. With it's stone and shingled exterior it beckons the weary hiker inside to warm toes by the at least two (that I counted) enormous fireplaces indoors. The floors are hardwood, and refurbished. The age on the floors is gorgeous. The lodge hangs on the side of the mountain. The back deck is the length of the lodge itself, with plenty of room to roam. Iron patio tables and chairs are neatly staggered about for visitors to sit and take in the breath taking view. And what a view it is, with the blue waters of Lake Guntersville far, very far below! I felt like I was sitting on a cloud. Boaters meandered up and down the river in search for crappie, brim and bass. Speckled amid the water were black dots everywhere, it was Coot, hundreds of them.The American Coot (Fulica americana) is a bird of wetlands and open water. About 40 centimeters (16 inches) in length and weighing 0.65 kg (1.4 lb), adults have a short thick white bill and white frontal shield, which usually has a reddish-brown spot near the base of the bill between the eyes. The body is grey with the head and neck darker than the rest of the body. Their legs are yellowish, with scalloped toes rather than webbed feet. Their chicks have black bodies with bright red head and beak, and orange plumes around the neck. They are easy to spot in the water, as they swim much like ducks.
Soon we decided to take a drive and head towards the beach area. Immediately after pulling out of the lodge parking lot, we began to notice more deer. With each mile or two, they were easily spotted. Cars began backing up, like those going through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. But is was the deer that were the show. They are, of course in a state park where hunting is illegal. The park puts our feed in feeders all throughout the park. The deer have become accustomed to people, even seeking them out for meals. The deer were in plain view the entire decent of the mountain. At the base of the mountain is an RV park, which had a small field of overgrown brush around it. In this small area, we pulled over, where my cousin Gina counted 12-15 deer, looking for handouts. They were so sweet to see, walking gracefully over to cars to survey the situation.
After watching them for a time, we drove around the bend to the beach area. We arrived just in time. The sun was beginning to set on the water and allowed a gorgeous artistic display of color. It was like a watercolor painting, one that one God can perfect. And boy, was it! I was awestruck by the scene with the boat dock in the distance and the gold's that pierced through the slats of the wooden building. We ventured out to the pier for a even better view. The sun looked to be on fire, sinking into th e water that looked like liquid metal. Other people began to converge in the area, attune to the symphonic display in the sky. As the sun disappeared into the water we headed back towards the car.
On the way to the car, we ran into "Fergie" and her master. Fergie was a Heinz 57 mix that noticeably was missing a front leg. After inquiring with the owner, we found that Fergie had been abused as a pup by some teenagers, who cut off her leg. She found a new loving home and now has turned her tragedy into a positive by visiting nursing homes with her master. There she finds common grounds with many patients who give her alot of love. It was a bittersweet story, one that we would've missed had we not asked. I just love getting to know people and knowing their stories. Everyone has one....
The sun set on a wonderful day. On the way out of the park, I was lucky enough to see a enormous buck munching on leaves. Truthfully, I have not seen as big a buck in "real life". Certainly one that wasn't either behind a fence or shot dead and now riding in the back on someone's pick up truck. He was a magnificent specimen, with a rack that was about 2 feet wide. It was the thing to top off a perfect day. As we drove out of the park, I began making plans to bring the family circus to see the wonder of nature for themselves. We already have reservation in a couple weeks.
The park offers so much in the way of activity, with hiking trails, seminars, tennis courts, gold, playground, boating, beach area, pool, hot tub, fire pits, arcade, gift shop and numerous picnic areas. The lodge has a beautiful restaurant that was decorated in a Napa Valley style. The prices were amazing. My family couldn't eat for less at McDonalds. I heard several people comment how delicious the food was. I am really looking forward to our trip.

If you are interested in staying inside the state park, pricing is as follows:
ChaletsReservations 800-LGville & 256-571-5440 Rates are $125 per night plus tax 20 Modern Chalets rest on a bluff overlooking the 69,000-acre Guntersville Reservoir. Enjoy hiking trails and view vast number of deer that graze nearby. Each chalet has two bedrooms/1 bath and is fully equipped to enhance your stay. Amenities include:
1 bedroom with a king size bed and 1 bedroom with 2 double size beds. King size bedroom has a TV.Living and kitchen space with TV/DVD.Wood burning fireplace in living room, firewood provided.Coffee pot Hair dryer in bathroom.Iron and ironing board.

Lake Side CottagesReservations800-LGville & 256-571-5440Rates are $125 per night plus tax
15 Modern Cottages, each with 2 bedrooms/2 baths, flank the banks of Lake Guntersville affording you many opportunities to enjoy the pristine beauty of our park. Sit on the deck with your morning cup of coffee and listen to the trill of the King Fisher as he watches and waits for an unsuspecting fish. Ease into the lake from a nearby boat launch and set out for a day of fun on the water. Relax for the evening and take in a spectacular sunset. Cottage amenities include:
1 bedroom with a king size bed and 1 bedroom with 2 double size beds. King size bedroom has a TV.Living and kitchen space with TV/DVD.Coffee pot.Hair dryer in bathroom.Iron and ironing board.
Resort Hotel Lodge and SuitesReservations800-LGville & 256-571-5440Rates vary and begin at $98 per night plus tax
110 hotel rooms and suites rest on a bluff overlooking beautiful Lake Guntersville. Rooms vary from queen beds to king, and small to large suites. Many have bluff views while some face the woods. Amenities include:
Refrigerators and microwaves.TV and DVD Players Wireless Internet Hair dryerCoffee pot and complimentary coffee
You may request certain units such as a particular hotel room or cottage. However, we do not guarantee that unit to be available at check-in but will make every attempt at honoring your request.
Rates are subject to change
Guntersville State ParkLodge Office: 1155 Lodge Dr. Guntersville, AL 35976 256-571-5440Park Office: 7966 Alabama Highway 227 Guntersville, AL 35976 256-571-5444


Charnita's Xpressions said...

My old home....we lived on the mountain overlooking the lake...it is so beautiful!
Next time you are there, eat at Covingtons!!! and have Towne Tea...
And take me!

Leigh said...

I will! Great suggestions. I always love finding out places. Glad you told me. Is it in Guntersville? Come with me. I am going again in a couple weeks, taking the fmaily so they can see it.