Brief-Form Post #19: Aerial Tour of Joe Wheeler State Park!

I am pleased to offer the 19th of my new GBH Brief Form Posts to my website (Less than three minutes to read!). I tend to get a bit long-winded with my routine Posts. I don’t want my enthusiasm for thoroughness and detail to discourage readers. So I will publish these brief Posts regularly.


Brief-Form Post on my August 20, 2023, Aerial Overflight of Alabama’s Joe Wheeler State Park!


On August 20, 2023, a friend took me aloft in his Cessna 182. We departed Pryor Regional Air Field, Decatur, Alabama at 7:00 AM under cloud-free but hazy skies, the threat/promise (depending upon perspective) of expanding heat index…arriving long after our return to the airfield. Our flight plan encompassed exploring the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and cruising the Tennessee River from Guntersville Dam downstream to Wheeler Dam (and Joe Wheeler State Park). I focus this Brief-Form Post on our aerial exploration of Joe Wheeler State Park.

I’ve enjoyed many on-the-ground hours at the Park, publishing 24 prior Posts focused on this State Park. Go to the Blog page of my website (, enter Joe Wheeler State Park in the search window, and read/explore the 24 Posts at your leisure.

I snapped this photo at 8:17 AM over the south end of Wheeler Dam looking to the northside lock, and the forested Park shoreline stretching northeast from the dam. Out of sight, a portion of the Park (southside cabins and the Multiple Use Trail) lies directly beneath me. Wilson Lake lies below the Wheeler dam, to the left of the dam and bridge.


From this aerial vantage point a couple of miles east of the bridge crossing the dam, the Tennessee River (and Wheeler Lake) stretches eastward. First Creek empties into the Lake from the left. Nearly all of the forest surrounding the First Creek embayment is central to Joe Wheeler State Park. I have spent hours exploring trails and woodland within the field of vision from 2,000 feet altitude. I marvel that such an aerially-compressed view can account for at least half of the Joe Wheeler State Park Posts I have authored.



I recorded this 0:39 video at 8:19 AM, capturing the beauty, magic, wonder, awe, and inspiration of a very special place on the eastern edge of the First Creek embayment at Joe Wheeler State Park.


The view to the left includes the Lodge, part of the marina, a section of the golf course, the wastewater treatment facility, and the Day Use  picnic, beach, and recreation area along the inlet east of the Lodge (closeup below right).


Before departing the Park, we banked over that adjoining inlet, capturing a view of the Day Use area and campground.



I accept the challenge of distilling these Brief-Form Posts into a single distinct reflection, a task far more elusive than assembling a dozen pithy statements. Sometimes, Today, I borrow a distinct reflection from John Muir, one of the truly great minds of conservation and environmental antiquity:

  • When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.


NOTE: I place 3-5 short videos (15 seconds to three minutes) on my Steve Jones Great Blue Heron YouTube channel weekly. All relate to Nature-Inspired Life and Living. I encourage you to SUBSCRIBE! It’s FREE. Having more subscribers helps me spread my message of Informed and Responsible Earth Stewardship…locally and globally!