This past weekend my friend Hetairoi and I hiked another section of the Pinhoti Trail in NE Alabama. We chose the section from Burns Trailhead south to Pine Glen. It was a wonderful, scenic, and quiet walk.
Friday - We were both running late getting off work, so we decided to meet at the primitive Campground at Pine Glen. There, we setup camp for the night and enjoyed a warm fire and lots of chat while we unwound from the week's toil. We turned in late under a misting sky with a soft breeze.
Saturday - We woke relatively late, but weren't in a rush. We broke camp and loaded our packs, left a vehicle at Pine Glen and shuttled ourselves north about 20 miles to the Burns Trailhead. From there, we walked slowly and steadily all day enjoying the crsip early winter air, the quiet rustling of the wind through the forest, and the occasional Turkey taking flight from a nearby tree. Our path took us past two scenic lakes, open slopes and levees, across hardwood-laden ridges, through both Longleaf and Loblolly Pine stands, across low winding marshes, and across numerous creeks and streams. We even got to enjoy a lakeside boardwalk and an old hewn-log church alongside the trail. Good times indeed. Our path for the day ended just at sundown as we reached the Laurel Shelter just in time to have a relaxing dinner, a few laughs, and a blazing campfire to dry our feet.
Sunday - Again, we allowed ourselves to sleep late and enjoy the sounds of the forest in the morning. We woke and had a long leisurely breakfast and tea before striking camp and setting out for the day. The day would see us crossing along another picturesque lake, and some lovely sections of pine forest crossed by many flowing streams and low ridges. Solitude was our primary companion for most of the day. We only met one hiker our entire trip, and even that turned out to be an honored encounter.
As we reached Pine Glen, a little tired but relaxed and elated...we decided there couldn't have been a much better way to spend the weekend. Quiet walks in the forest make me happy.
Happy Holidays everyone!
The lone hiker we encountered was Warren Johnson. Hetairoi and I have both followed news of his adventures for some time, and were indeed honored to meet him. He's currently doing a flip-flop double thru-hike of the Pinhoti, but he has also thru-hiked the AT in addition to being the first person to paddle the AL Scenic River Trail both upstream and downstream. He's a retiree turned adventurer of the finest sort, basically living on the trail to inspire others.