Outdoor Alabama

It’s February. The month of grey days, cold winds, snow on occassion… or is it? In Alabama February has come with warm days and lots of outside time.

When I first moved here I bought a book called Hiking Alabama and one thing I noticed… in every photo there are no leaves on the trees. Now I know why! It’s so darn hot in the summer and most of the fall that being out in the woods and taking a little hike just would not be any fun. But 70 degrees in February… going for a little trek through the woods is perfect!

We headed north (birthday weekend-Hello Forty) to Oak Mountain State Park. It’s a  big park, and even though it is just off the interstate, I felt like I was miles away from busy. We headed to the camp ground and were assigned a camp site…. site #31. We didn’t get to drive through and pick a site that looked good to us which was weird…. but we did have the option (after paying) of heading into the camp ground and picking a different site if it was available. Site #31 was fine – just surrounded by other campers and situated between two roads. We drove around and decided that a different site would suit us much better. It was 20 feet off the road up a hill… it was worth lugging all our gear up. On one side of us were woods, on the other a camp site that also involved a trudge up a hill, and behind us more woods and a 100 foot rise to the top of a ridge.

Our camp site was perfect! We ate lots of yummy camping food (S”MORES! and Jeff makes a killer dutch oven pizza), tromped up the hill behind our site, made fairy forts, checked out the animal rehabilitaion center, did a couple of little hikes, and enjoyed it all, bug free because it’s FEBRUARY!

On our way home we decided to do a little more exploring. We saw a sign for Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park and exited the interstate. 15 miles off was this little park… it was full of old-timey buildings and held the ruins of a huge furnace that was working full force during the time of the Civil War. The park is a bit on the lame side – the camp sites were crammed right next to each other – but it was a fine place to eat a little lunch and let the kids run on their playground. It does have a very cool old-school metal merry-go-round that has this pump mechanism so you can get yourself spinning without a pusher.

 While we were there we noticed a sign for The Lower Cahaba Historic and Recreational Corridor.  One park featured on that sign wouldn’t be too out of the way so we decided to explore a bit more… and we found a gem!

It’s called Perry Lakes Park. It’s behind a fish hachery, with no signs what-so-ever on the main highway… but if you can find it you won’t be sorry. There are well maintained hiking trails that skirt along small beautiful lakes full of Cypress trees with spanish moss hanging down. There is a 100 foot tower to climb that had all of us higher than the trees. There were very pretty woods, a river to check out, and some out-of-order bathrooms that were located in these very modern architecturally interesting structures that seemed in place and out of place at the same time.

This was a perfect birthday weekend.  Not only did I get to hang with my favorite people in the whole world, I got to be outside in the woods and feed my inner adventurer with some exploration.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Erin on February 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    That sounds like my kind of birthday!! Esp for February. Can’t wait to swap dutch oven recipes 🙂 After you move up here we’ll have to do a big camp out.

    HAPPY 40th!! Mine comes in May. I’m actually looking forward to it. You only turn 40 once 🙂


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