Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A fall ramble, hiking at its best

Reflections on the autumn woods.

"Florida or Bust" - Days 27 and 28

There's nothing quite like the early fall for being in an Appalachian forest.  There's a riot of new colors but the canopy still feels alive.  In a few weeks branches will be bare and the woods will have gone into hibernation.  There are still fall flowers.  Next to witch hazel, the Bottle Gentian is among the latest to bloom.

The autumn sky is as blue as it gets.

Humidity and temperature are down, but it's still warm enough to hike in shorts and a t-shirt.  Leaves have started to fall, adding another sensory input--the crunch of fresh dry leaves.  On this footbridge the new accumulation was apparent.  There are so few hikers on the Pinhoti trail that they hadn't been trampled or swept away.

Maybe the only down-side is that all the sunny dry weather has stolen the thunder from some of the waterfalls.  This cascade showed me nothing but its potential.

On the other hand, it makes rock-hopping even the biggest streams a cinch.

These are days to treasure.  The Pinhoti Trail has been good to me.  Thank's 'Turkey Track'!

Turkey oak leaf with the metal 'turkey track' trail marker and the standard blue blaze of the Alabama Pinhoti Trail.

Next I will pass through this magic portal and into Cheaha Wilderness.  Cheaha is Creek-Indian for 'High Place' and this will be some of the last hiking I do above 2000 feet as I make my way toward Florida.  All the more reason to keep all senses alert.  Stay tuned.

Below is a map of the two day autumn ramble with links to more photos:

Pinhoti Trail - FS 518 to Cheaha Trailhead at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Alabama

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