This past weekend my brother-in-law and I took off toward the Sipsey Wilderness for a 3 day 2 night hike n hang. This was his first time sleeping in a hammock and I was happy to be the one to get him off of the ground.
It had been very, very dry leading up to the trip and I was worried about the falls being a disappointment but somehow we managed to get lucky and had rain all 3 days leading up to the last weekend including a MAJOR thunderstorm that hung around until about an hour before we arrived. So we went from drought conditions to oh **** it is going to be hard to find dry wood conditions.
The first day was an easy hike of just about 2 miles. We hiked this day completely off trail through a creek.
For those familiar with the area this is the path from the Randolph TH to Parker Falls. We camped at Parker Falls that night and luckily were able to get a fire going.
(My bother-in-law and Parker Falls)
I spotted some craw-fish in the nearby creek and hand caught a few and boiled them up. For some reason my brother-in-law had decided to bring a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce which was perfect for the small feast.
The following morning we continued off trail in the creek toward the Sipsey River. The scenery in this area is among the most beautiful I have seen in Alabama. Clear running water surrounded by over 100ft high limestone canyon walls and rich luscious green forest.
We spotted a few critters along the way including a few river otters, and a 3' Gar fish that had managed to make his way up stream and get trapped in a small pool once the water level had gone down a bit. He would have been very easy to catch but since it was still around 9am and we would not be cooking anything until that evening we thought it better to let him be.
We continued past Parker Cascades and made our way toward the Sipsey River.
After most of the morning walking through the creek we thought a change of scenery may be nice and decided instead of continuing down the slippery windy creek bed to change it up a bit and hike up a smaller branch and see if we could take a little shortcut to the trail. I know, I know... "Shortcuts don't always work out so well." We started up the small branch. With my junglas (large esee knife) in hand I clear a path up the steep slippery thick route that was our new path. With no signs of anyone venturing up this route in quite sometime I started to wonder if this "shortcut" would even be a possibility. After about 20 mins of hacking our way through we arrived at our next challenge, a 40ft high waterfall with limestone cliffs surrounding us on all sides. We quickly scanned the cliff edge for any accessible pass. We found one area that seemed doable a trudged off in that direction. Upon our arrival to our new test we faced a 90 degree vertical 10' wall that stood between us and a much easier and faster route to the trail. Not being experienced climbers and both having 30 lb packs on we took our time. There were some really good root holds that made making our way up not terribly difficult but still slightly dangerous. These types of circumstances I prefer to attack alone. I kept thinking if anything happened to my brother-in-law that I would never hear the end of it from my sister. I was sure to tell him this just before he made his accent and told him to make sure he took his time. We made it up without any issues and trotted off toward the trail and ultimately the Sipsey River. We had to swim across the river and luckily I had brought a 115ml dry bag that was large enough to fit my pack inside to insure none of our gear got wet. We hiked a few more miles and reached our final destination of the day.
I spent the next couple hours fishing in the Sipsey River with my new Emmrod. This was my first time using this rod and I love it. Basically it is just a normal fishing pole condensed down into about a 1.5' of space and fits very easily into a backpack. I caught a few small fish and cooked them up that night.
We hiked the last 6 miles out the next morning. This was the only time that we really felt the Alabama heat the whole trip while ascending out of the canyon. It was a great trip and beautiful place to visit in Alabama if you are ever near by. Here is my photo Album. Sorry I didn't take as many pictures this time as I normally do.
Here are some pics from my last Sipsey trip a couple months ago for more pics of the area...