Chapman Mountain

In what is the latest chapter in the annual saga entitled, Alabama Spring, it rained last night.  Hard.  No tornadoes, I’m happy to say, but we still saw well over three inches of rainfall during the last 24 hours.  

I like to joke about the water evaporating from the Gulf of Mexico and falling back down before it even gets a state away.  That’s one of my jokes. I don’t get invited to a lot of parties.

Anyway, it rained.  Which was a bummer, because I was supposed to go on a guided hike this morning. For better or worse (ok, worse), I’m one of those people who tends to lead more guided hikes than participate in them, so I was really looking forward to getting out there and learning from someone else.  

I checked my email and text messages: No cancellation notices.  Since I’m one of the Land Trust’s hike leaders, I have a phone number for the hike coordinator, and I’m not afraid to use it.  A text message later and I knew that the hike was a go!  Or, more accurately, that it hadn’t been cancelled.

Yet.

That actually happened when I got to the parking lot.  Again, that rain was a bummer.  The hike leader said he’d done some looking and the trails were just too wet.  

I understand the need to stay off of wet trails, but as the group broke up I decided I wanted to just poke around a little and check things out.  This was a Land Trust property that I’d never actually hiked.  I’ve been there many times to give presentations in the pavilion, but I’d never hiked the trails.  

Another one of my jokes: People rarely donate flat (read: easily developed) land.  The preserve I was standing on, the Chapman Mountain Preserve, is not flat.  The hills aren’t too bad, but the land is not flat.*

The first bit of the trail wasn’t too bad.  It was wet, but not “slippery” or “leave ugly boot print” wet.  So I went on a bit more.

The next bit of trail wasn’t too bad, either.  So I went on a bit more.

The next bit of trail was actually a creek, but it was a rock-bedded creek only an inch deep.  No mud, no sediment, no foul.  So my wet boots and I went on a bit more. 

I was on that hillside for two hours, and it was absolutely glorious!  I had the place to myself (with the exception of a trail runner who–and I don’t understand this–wasn’t muddy from falling.  I mean, the trails weren’t sloppy, but running?  I was impressed.

The tail end of the rain had actually ended within 20 minutes of my arrival on site.  Water was still dripping from the trees, the ephemeral streams were running strongly, and the sounds of moving water could be heard the whole time I was there.  Springtime in Alabama is beautiful (thank you, Gulf of Mexico), and I walked among budding trees, a variety of wildflowers, and the sounds of birds everywhere.  Bird sound highlight: two amorous great horned owls just out of sight.  

It was simply wonderful, and I left with relatively clean boots and a list of poem topics for the upcoming month.  I’m looking forward to getting back out there soon, but maybe without the humidity from a recent rain.


*I need to say that this land is actually more suitable for development than many of our properties.  The family that made its acquisition possible were committed to seeing the land preserved.  Totally awesome.

One more note: The trails the hike leader planned on really were too wet. I didn’t hike on those, and the trail I did take was only a two hour walk because I like to mosey, take pictures, and stand and listen. Not guided hike material.

19 thoughts on “Chapman Mountain”

  1. I understand what you mean when you say you were looking forward to someone else guiding the hike. I also appreciated the sights, sounds, and smells along the hike that you did do. And, as the sister-in-law of a land developer, I laughed at the line about donating flat lands. Nope, doesn’t happen often!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I read one of your hiking posts I am transported back to my home. I grew up near Glacier National Park in Northern Montana and we went every weekend of the summer after Mom got off work on Friday night. We had our favorite walk, Avalanche Lake. I’m always reading your hikes with that visualization. You are very blessed to be able to see such beauty so often. Even if it is a bit wet! (Or really wet!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someday I hope to see that part of the country. I’ve spent a little time north of Michigan and an even smaller amount of time in the Pacific Northwest and absolutely loved it. It’s so much different than what we have in the south.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for taking us on your hike today, Tim. I like hearing what other land trusts do when there is inclement weather. We had to deal with quite a bit of that in 2019 when I was with the Conservancy here. It’s a great thing that people all over the US conserve beautiful lands for public (and, private) use. I’m glad you enjoyed your solice.

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    1. Carol, it’s a tough call, isn’t it? I love being in the woods during and after a rain, but taking a small herd of folks can be devastating to the trail system. Conservation is a wonderful thing–yes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember we had an event easter weekend that was to be a Hike and Write in the Bluffs with a published author. The trails were a mess from heavy rain. We relocated to an indoor venue near the LaCrosse Marsh. But, the event ended up being poorly attended. The author was disappointed. I think people really wanted to be on the trails.

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      2. Being on the trail: two thumbs up. Being on the trail with a decent author: two thumbs way up. Being off the trail with a decent author: okay, two thumbs up, but without as much enthusiasm as the first option.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Weird – I responded to this but now its gone. The author handled things well and I joined in as a participant in the event after the necessary introductions and Conservancy’s spiel. But, in the end, we were both disappointed in having to change venues.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh….time in nature. Thank you for taking us along with you on your hikes. I’m still building back up to being able to walk the dog, but I’m anxious to get back on trails as well. I’m also anxious to see what poetry will be coming our way next month!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was written so well, Tim, I could actually visualize you there. When you said you were just going to poke around, I thought, this can’t be good. But, instead, the plot twisted the other way and this made me smile. I’m so glad you were able to make the day a visual artist/writers date with yourself and was able to restock the well. I also appreciated your endnote about affirming your guide’s decision to cancel was in fact a good call, for that part of the trail.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just read this after following a link from your poem post today. I’m glad you got a list of topics from this hike, and it sounds wonderful! Thanks for writing about it! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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