We love to get out and explore the world around us so we decided to take Fi to Kolomoki Mounds State Park because she'd never been before. We packed a lunch and put on our sneakers and off we went for a fun day of hiking and exploration.
Kolomoki Mounds is the largest earthwork mound complex in Georgia and was constructed 350 CE to 600 CE. The mounds were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964. We started off by going to the Temple Mound which is the largest of the mounds where the Native Americans performed ceremonies and games and such.
The views were fantastic as we surveyed our next destination. There are 3 different trails in the area but one was damaged from the last hurricane so only two can be traversed currently. Once we climbed back down the Temple Mound, we headed towards a foresty area that had a smaller mound with a sign discussing some of the archaeological findings from its excavation including numerous effigy pots which are pots made to resemble animals or humans.
We decided perhaps we should make some effigy pots of our own when we got back home which you'll see at the bottom of this post!
We meandered through the lush, wooded area along the White Oaks trail and enjoyed looking at all of the numerous plants and flowers (we were still looking for the elusive stinging nettle of course!)
After we finished the 1.25 mile loop, we headed over to the museum and visitors center (closed because of Corona, of course) to look at the the rocks that were excavated out of the mound the museum is built on. There was a hut set up close by to explore and to learn about the type of dwelling the villagers would have lived in during this time period.
While checking out this area, we noticed a what field behind us that we moved toward to explore further. The wind was blowing so that the golden wheat seemed to wave back at us and beckoned us closer. Fi said "Oh look at how soft and fluffy it looks!" as she began to step into the golden grass quickly followed by an "Ow!! It's not soft at all! It's stabbing me and it hurts!" I, being the excellent mother that I am, made her take a few pictures in it anyway.
We said goodbye to the beautiful field and headed onwards towards our next destination, the Trillium Trail. This trail is only 1.3 miles and is also beautiful although slightly more challenging than the previous trail as we had to climb over or go around multiple trail route blockages. We saw more flowers and plants and ended up taking a detour over to a lake full of lily pads and wandered around a short distance of the currently unavailable Spruce Pines Trail.
FI grabbed my camera a time or two to take some pictures of things she found interesting like these mushrooms.
After making our way back to the Trillium Trail and finishing the loop, we headed over to the beach area to eat our packed lunch and explore a little more before it was time to head home. There were plenty of fish and tadpoles to keep Fi's interests up for the rest of our time there.
It was such a fun outing and we were able to learn about the Native Americans in this area, some of the archaeological finds, the different ecosystems throughout this region plus we got to hike and play outside all day long in the most perfect weather! All that was left was to create some effigy pots of our own inspired by what we saw at Kolomoki.
We chose to use Model Magic for our pottery clay as it is easy to use and has no extra steps afterwards except to let it just sit for a couple of days to dry out! We used the pinch pot technique as demonstrated by Fi here:
We ended up making animals. I made a turtle and Fi made an owl for herself and one for her American Girl dolls. Too cute! Here's a run down and the finished products.
1. Grab your clay and roll it into a ball.
2. Press your thumb into the center of the ball. Leave enough clay on the bottom to have a sturdy base. If your thumb goes through the bottom, simply roll it back into a ball and try again.
3. Use your thumb and index finger to "pinch" the pot into the shape you want.
4. Add features to make it animal or human like using more clay or tools to cut into the clay.
5. Let it air dry for a day or two.
6. Viola! You can also paint it after it hardens and apply a varnish if you'd like. We chose to keep ours looking like terra cotta.
Admittedly, my turtle looks very sad but we had a great time making them so that's all that matters! Overall, Kolomoki ws a fun experience and we got to learn new things while getting outside and exploring!