Wild Weather Camping At Okatibbee Lake in Mississippi

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Okatibbee Lake in Mississippi about 10 miles from Meridian.

It was a dark and stormy afternoon when we pulled into Twiltney Branch Corps of Engineers Campground the weekend before Christmas. Mike and I partnered to get our 35-ft Challenger fifth-wheel backed into the angled space, which was too closely crowded by trees. Most of the time I had to be Mike’s “eyes”, as neither right nor left side showed in his rear view mirrors.

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Mike was totally spooked because we’d just bought this camper after years of  drooling and dreaming and riding around looking. And I was a novice at the m’on back signals. Fortunately, however, my common sense over-rode my tendency for brain-freeze and stuttering in a new and tense situation. Naturally, Mike didn’t trust me entirely and stopped and got out and eyeballed it himself a couple of times. Can’t say I blame him. We got it parked with no mishaps into site sixteen next to the lake.

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The wind picked up considerably Friday night. Weather predictions for this weekend had not been good. But we didn’t pick this time for our first outing at random. Mike is the go-to guy for a wide variety of businesses with troubled laundry equipment. He was due in Meridian on a call for early Saturday morning. So we drove the 200 miles on Friday and got ourselves locked down and comfy Friday afternoon and evening. Mike had a nice restful night and only had ten miles to drive to work at a Meridian hotel.

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That first night was wonderful. The larder was stocked for the weekend and we had plenty of coffee and hot chocolate to soothe away the hours.

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The camper door stayed open till bedtime to watch the branches of the trees moving with the sound of the wind. Mike calls me Morticia because I love storms. The wind and rain and lightning and thunder make my spirit fly and gives me a delicious shiver. This night there was no lightning, but lots of wind. I kept the window open on my side of the bed and laid awake a long time just listening and looking out into the darkness over the lake.

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Mike and I enjoyed a quick cup of hot tea Saturday morning, Mike loaded up his tools in the truck, and by 7:30 I had the camper and most of the campground to myself. Our only neighbors were campers in a motor home a couple of sites down on the opposite side of the road. I had a leisurely morning of reading and listening to the boisterous wind, which was even stronger than the day before. Around noon I put on my shoes, grabbed the camera, and went for a walk before the weather turned nastier. There was talk of tornadoes later on in some parts of Mississippi and we were right on the border of the bad weather map. But I was determined to see what there was to see. I can’t resist long roads curving off in the distance.

So please come walk with me as I capture snapshots and vignettes of a preserved segment of rustic and woodland Mississippi on a dark and windy day.

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Loblolly Loop was where we were camped

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These cypresses are on Cypress Loop – aptly named

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These are cypress knees, and look like little creatures out of fantasy turned into stone.They are actually the roots of cypress trees and are typical of trees that grow in wet, swampy ground. There is some debate over their function, but it is generally thought they come up out the water for air (oxygenation), or to anchor the tree in the mushy soil.

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The wind whips the water and trees as clouds gather on the horizon.

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Remember all the loops with names like Loblolly Loop, Cypress Loop, and Blackgum Loop? Talk about a loop-de-loop. Okay, I got lost in those loops. My nice walk turned into about two hours of going in loops. I knew we were on Loblolly, but that kept turning into other loops without me finding our camper. I finally found my way home. Not by leaving bread crumbs — which I didn’t. Not by checking which side of the trees the moss grew on. Not by checking which direction the wind was blowing. Nope. Oh great explorer that I am, I finally remembered to look at the site numbers.

I had a long wait for Mike. Dark came early and I was roused from my book by a knock on the door. It was Mr. Reed, the campground host, letting me know the latest weather report and to head for the concrete block shower and restroom facility nearby in case the tornado watch turned into a warning.

Mike finally made it home. He had put in a long day but the job went well and his new customer was well pleased. And Mike was quite pleased that it didn’t take him long to get “home”. He said the lights from the camper shining out from that deep darkness was beautiful. Mike checked the TV weather station and said it looked like it was going to miss our area. So we had another cozy, quiet evening.

We spent all of Sunday at camp while Mike rested up. We went for a short walk later. (Nobody got lost). And afterwards we sat a while gazing out over the water. Monday morning we spent a leisurely time over our tea, and later enjoyed a cup of coffee and doughnuts. We were in no hurry — wonderful words “no hurry”. But about mid-morning we stowed our gear and got the camper ready to pull out. It wasn’t as difficult driving out as driving in. In spite of the weather, we claim that first outing as a great success..

Thanks for joining us, and I hope there will be many more that you can come along on.

Bye for now. Stay sweet.

Linda

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