Loran Smith: Covey Rise

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Loran Smith: Covey Rise

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

CAMILLA – The most rewarding and uplifting experiences in life are those which are recurring.  You see a game between the hedges of Sanford Stadium, your passion calls for an encore.  And more.

You find your way into Fenway Park when the Red Sox are having an unforgettable season and swoon to all that is good about tradition and history.  You can’t get enough of Fenway’s left field “Green Monster,” listening to a line drive spank off the fabled wall.  For a seasoned and nostalgic Red Sox fan, that is music to his/her ears.  A cacophonous baseball symphony.





Pre-game, you sit in the Sox dugout and allow your mind’s eye to see what Babe Ruth once saw, which was the same for Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Big Papi or David Ortiz if you want to use his official name on his Massachusetts driver’s license.

They all (Ruth in retirement) saw the “Cities Service” sign beyond the Green Monster, which went up in 1940 and segued into “Citgo” with the company’s rebranding in 1965. 

A pheasant hunt in South Dakota, and you know you just have to return and knock down a brace of cock pheasant once again.  Fly over the Grand Canyon, seeing wild mustangs racing pell-mell under the chartered single-engine plane, calls for a return flight with déjà vu becoming reality.   Celebrating championships never ceases for the two favorite teams of most Georgians—the Braves and the Bulldogs.  Folk of all ages will relive those back-to-back UGA moments as long as they live.





Last week, as the plane, piloted by Chris Davis—God put him on earth to fly an airplane—descended into the local airport of Camilla, which was named for the granddaughter of a Revolutionary War general, there was a flashback to previous hunts at an enclave run and managed by Robin Singletary, his son, Brian, and their families.

    They didn’t originate quail hunting hospitality but have perfected it to near perfection.  Covey Rise is part of nature’s good fortune.  Fertile farmland greets you as you take a dirt road down to the wooded lodge, which sits a couple of football fields from the Flint River, whose mouth is near a concrete culvert on the south side of Virginia Avenue in Hapeville.  

The Flint flows underneath the runways of the Atlanta Airport, 265 miles south, until it meets up with the Chattahoochee and forms Lake Seminole.

When the waters become a single river again and flow south out of Seminole, they become the Apalachicola, an Indian word meaning “a ridge of earth produced by sweeping the ground in preparation for a council or peace fire.” If you are up on the squabble involving Georgia, Alabama and Florida—The Tri-State Water War—you know that the courts have and will continue to settle water allocations in the two major river basins that cross their borders.

At Covey Rise, the Flint is a recreational haven for fishing shoal bass, cookouts that feature “redneck-a-rockefeller,” oysters on the half-shell, high-end libations, conversations about Georgia’s back-to-back national championships, fishing, hunting, farming, and testifying with faith that, despite the failures of government, that our world is not going to hell in a handbasket.

However, the hunters I cavorted with earlier in the week are successful businessmen who have worked to develop their assorted businesses and fret about welfare abuse, the right to work having segued in pay me not to work, a negative canon that they believe is eating away at the very fundamental that made our nation great: Live and let live.

Mostly they enjoyed spontaneous levity—classic storytelling—in traditional rocking chairs with loblolly pines and stately oaks graced with shocks of Spanish moss interrupting their view of the Flint and beyond; an idle fireplace, owing to unseasonably warm weather, and the best in down-home cooking, which understandably included fried quail (even for breakfast if you like). Early risers find coffee made and ready to start their day.

Network television connects you with the negative headlines if you prefer, but quail talk trumps all that.  You know you soon will be in the fields, which feature broom sage that bends with the wind, which warms the hearts of all South Georgians and guests who come this way.

 An all-star lineup of guides includes David West, Aubrey Justice, Nathan Newman, Trampus Thompson, Brandon Brock, Brad Timmins, Chandler Conine, Andre Hornsby and Joseph Singletary.   Damn good guides orchestrating damn good times in the Great Outdoors.  Join me in saying a prayer of thanks for this Great Experience.

Then there are the dogs, all-stars too: Addie, Spot, June, Bill, Petty, Francie and Quinn—a collection of setters and pointers, where comingling is never allowed for males.  When you put two male bird dogs together, more often than not, it reflects society today—somebody is always at someone else’s throat, often over nothing.

Out in the fields and woods, Bob White quail sing out, a part of what makes outdoor experiences speak to the soul.  Life is good at Covey Rise; Life is still good in America for the most part.  At Covey Rise, there is no official national anthem.  If there were, it would be “America the Beautiful.”





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