Monday, October 12, 2009

Salubrious Perambulation

Healthy Walking.

Yup, that's what we did on Sunday. We went for a five-mile hike on the Pinhoti Trail, this time from the Cheaha Trailhead to the Blue Mountain shelter (PT mile 79.1 to 81.2 and back). The Cheaha Trailhead is absolutely astounding...

Most trailheads are gravelly parking areas with a slightly wider spot at the start of the trail, and maybe a covered map-and-announcement board. This one... a beautiful stone and iron construction, with imprints of local flora and fauna in the rock, as well as numerous hiking boot and turkey footprints. If I remember correctly, it was a project done by several local groups in honor of Alabama's many hiking opportunities. This trailhead actually connects to a number of trails: the Pinhoti, Cave Creek Trail, Odum Scout Trail, and Nubbin Creek Trail. We've been on parts of each, but have not yet explored their myriad creeks and waterfalls, ridges and valleys.

We traversed the main ridge of Horseblock Mountain, and skirted just below the summit of Mount Cheaha which at 2400 feet is the highest point in Alabama. (Can you say "thigh-burner"? I knew you could!) Cheaha State Park is nestled inside the Talladega National Forest, and the Pinhoti Trail follows a wandering north-south path through both areas.

This is a view from one of the ridges about a mile or so north of the trailhead, looking roughly east. It being October and all, the leaves are just starting to change. We've had such a rainy fall that I hope we have some beautiful foliage in the coming weeks. We haven't seen any color in our neck of the woods, but at this elevation the oranges and reds are starting to peep through the green.

The philosopher is looking very... philosophical... as he catches his breath. We'd just ascended an unpleasantly steep part of the trail, leaning heavily on our hiking poles! You can see it drop off dramatically in the background - it looks like the ground just swallowed it up.

All in all, it was an excellent afternoon. We were able to escape and clear our heads, and get some great exercise to boot. Yay, God, for beautiful places and natural wonders!

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