Lake Hartwell is almost right outside my door. It’s only maybe five minutes away from where I live, if that. I have always wanted to walk out into the lake bed when it is dry. While it is very eerie, I also found it pretty amazing. Like most things in this area, it begs to be explored.

We usually are paddling over this area but not on this March evening. The Tugaloo River serves as the headwaters for Lake Hartwell and runs through this part of the lake. Eventually it meets up with the Savannah River and travels on to Augusta and the coast. It’s pretty hard to believe that something that begins in Toccoa ends up in the Savannah River and then in the Atlantic Ocean.

Footnote: notice that Chipley certainly didn’t want to be with us. He wanted to run and to be free! (His Cherokee Indian name is Brave Lite Feather!) Honestly, he could never do that and you’ll see why in a later post. Besides, all he really wants to do is jump in the water . . . repeatedly . . . which I have found to be a very bad thing for my SUV!

Even though you can’t see it in these photos, the river is there. So are lots of other really interesting things—things that interest me, things that should interest local history buff and friend Kelly Vickers, and things that interest dogs. too! . . . Oh, there were lots of things that interested the dogs. Lots.

Here’s the Tugaloo River on a gray evening with the sun barely peaking through the clouds. All of this area is normally under water. Do you ever wonder where the fish go when the lake levels drop? I do all the time. When the water level rises and the lake fills up, amazingly the fish return.

Shells are everywhere. The Indians, who once lived on this land, collected these and traded them until trading deer hides became much more profitable. The number of deer hides that were sold or traded is staggering.

Speaking of deer, there are still plenty in this area of Georgia and on this evening we found lots of tracks in the lake bed.

We found other tracks, too. These are from our grey herons that we love to see and photograph in the spring and summer. They “fish” along the shallow shorelines.

We also found birch trees. I can’t explain why this was in the middle of a dry lake bed. It is perfect and beautiful, which makes me wonder why I didn’t collect it and carry it home with me. I love these evening walks in northeast Georgia. There are surprises waiting at every turn.