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.
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.