Thursday, December 1, 2011

Home, Sweet Home Alabama

It was sure enough cold this morning when Gene went out to unhook our utilities and air up the tires.  Thankfully, it wasn’t raining.  There were fog advisories, but there wasn’t any fog up on the ridge in Joelton--just beautiful blue skies.  We were anxious to get going, but forced ourselves to take it easy long enough for the morning rush hour traffic to die down.  By the time we finally pulled out of the campground, most of the traffic was gone and so was the fog.
Crossing the Tennessee River

The only fog we actually saw was near the downtown area around the Cumberland River.  If fog can be pretty, this was.  The moisture had frozen on the tree branches and was simply beautiful.  I grabbed the camera, but not in time.  The only picture I got as we were zipping by was of the side of a semi heading in the opposite direction between me and the trees.
There was plenty of water in the Tennessee River today.

We got out of Nashville without any major delays and had a pleasant drive down I-65 to the Alabama Welcome Center.  While I fixed lunch, Gene went in the Welcome Center to gather up any information he could find about Bankhead National Forest.  He was really looking for trail maps of Bankhead, but didn’t find much at the Welcome Center.  The lady behind the counter was kind enough to photocopy a couple of things that were not available in brochure form.
Rocket at Alabama Welcome Center

After a relaxing lunch, we continued on our way to Cullman, Alabama.  The small town of Cullman (population about 15,000) is located just off I-65 almost exactly halfway between Huntsville and Birmingham.  We’re going to be here for at least a week while we do some hiking in Bankhead and the Sipsey Wilderness area.

Cullman is several miles from the National Forest, but Cullman Campground was the best and closest campground with full hook-ups.  Bankhead has several campgrounds, but this is off season and all but one of the campgrounds are closed.  It’s good to have electricity on these cold nights anyway, so here we are.  More about the campground later on.

After we got settled in our site, we continued our search for a good trail map.  The campground office was able to give Gene the name of a couple sporting good stores, one of which had a map like he wanted.  We rushed on over to purchase the map. While we were in the store, we asked about hunting.  We’re in the midst of hunting season right now and Bankhead is open to hunters.  You can be sure I’ll be having that orange hat upon my head.  We looked around the store a little after we got the map and information we came for.  I have to tell ya--I’ve never seen so much camo in all my life.  Even the rifles were camo.  I guess if you dripped your gun you’d never be able to find it.

So, we’re armed with our maps and orange hats, hiking boots and packs.  Tomorrow, we’ll be on the trail again.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Orange hats are good. Orange vests, scarves, backpacks, and boots even better. Have fun and stay safe!

  2. Enjoy your hike!! You guys be careful on the trail.