Welcome to the first installment of what I hope to be a regular feature here in your Franklin News Post. I’m Papa Joe…your neighborhood “Tree Hugging Dirt Worshipper.” You know, the fella who is on a first name basis with the birds on his property. I’ve had the pleasure over the past 20-some years of logging countless hours on the trails and waterways of our beautiful county, developing a true passion for all things “Wild.” I hope that this feature will help to fuel a similar passion in our readers and promote a better awareness of the tremendous wild opportunities that our county has to offer.

So if you’re ready…let’s get “wild.”

Our first excursion together takes us to beautiful Philpott Lake, and particularly, a quiet, lovely spot call Jamison Mill. I was asked to photograph a Paddle Board Training Class to be held there hosted by Franklin County Parks and Recreation. Good spot for a quick commercial plug: If you have any desire whatsoever to discover the great wild fun our county offers, you need to support and follow our friends with Parks and Recreation. Hook up with them at the county’s website, or follow them on Facebook. Tons of great things to get involved in.

Anyway, the weather turned sour on the event, an unfortunate trend so far this summer, and I found myself alone to discover this sweet little gem of a recreational destination. I bumped into a camper walking his black lab and attempted to drum up a conversation to enlighten me on the facilities offerings. He wasn’t terribly informative, but his labrador retriever had nothing but great things to share about the place. There were a number of campers there this morning, children riding bikes, and numerous tail-wagging dogs. But none of the activity affected the overall peaceful serene atmosphere that seemed to define the Park.

The park is not shored on the main part of Philpott Lake, but is nestled along a shallow, back water cove. This adds to the quiet environment of the place and is ideal for the campers. It was easy to see why it was chosen for a Paddle Board activity in that there was ample water to float and paddle without the fear of being mowed down by a well-meaning motorboat. Kayakers and canoers alike will love this spot and its easy access to the lake. Loads of parking right at the ramp also.

One of the pleasant surprises for me was the six miles of trails that meander along the cove. According to the very informative sign, the trails are open for both hikers and bikers. Most of the trails are heavily wooded, and although they are not strenuous by any means, are rough enough to provide a challenge if you tackle them on wheels. There are interpretive trails included, which share the rich history of Jamison Mill and the people who lived and worked there in the early 20th century.

Easily, my favorite find was the roaring creek that wrapped around the property. I was surprised to find its waters crystal clear considering all the rains we have gotten lately. If you’re like me, I won’t camp out anywhere unless I have the sounds of a restless creek to put me to sleep. If you happen to visit Jamison Mill with your kids, I can guarantee they will be magnetically drawn to these waters.

If you haven’t stumbled upon Jamison Mill, you are missing out on a weekend memory. I plan on returning soon laden down with kids, dogs, kayaks, bikes and picnic baskets. Oh, but no wine. Remember….I read that informative sign.

Side note: If you have any “Wild” activities or stories to share, or if you have a favorite spot in the county you would like to see highlighted, feel free to share them with me at catkincreek@live.com

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