High House Hill, Indian Tomb Hollow

Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010
Location: Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
Members: Bart, Bomber, Charlie, Doris, Foster, Gary, Jim, Johnnie, Judy, Larry, Mimi, Nancy, Nena, Owen, Sandy, Shelby, Yvonne
Guests: Chris, Dustin, Jonathan, Nelsie
Dogs: Honey, Sweetie

In spite of not having much idea of where I was all day, I will attempt a trip report on the club hike to the High House Hill/Indian Tomb Hollow area in the northeastern corner of the Bankhead National Forest.
Bluff at Indian Tomb Hollow Twenty-one people showed up! I think that's a record. And on a cool, rainy day to boot. We met up at the Black Warrior Trading Company in Wren at 8 AM and carpooled from there. You take AL 36 east for a little over 4 miles and turn right (south) on County Road 86. This is paved for a couple of miles and then becomes dirt when you enter the forest. After another mile or so, you cross Gillespie Creek. We parked just up the hill from there, near where an old road comes out.

This positioned us somewhere on the eastern side of High House Hill. We followed the old road for a little way and then set out up the hill to our right. When the bushwhacking got tough, we retreated down a bit, following the bluffs around back to the west. The icicles photo was taken under the bluff at the top of one of the hollows.

The rain was on and off all morning, not really enough to get you soaking wet but never letting up enough to dry out. By 11 o'clock, everyone was ready to head in the direction of the cars, whichever way that might be.

Not that we were totally lost or anything. We followed a small stream in a somewhat northerly direction until the point where it flowed into Gillespie Creek, the only body of water of any size in this area. Then most of us just followed the creek back to where we had parked. The briars and vines made for slow going but the scenery compensated somewhat. At one point, we came to a large beaver dam where the water had backed up sufficiently so as to realize a decent size pond.
We finished up at about 12:30, just in time to avoid heavier rainfall. Gary had pursued another route further to the north of Gillespie Creek where he managed to find another old road. He beat the rest us back by over 20 minutes. This road also comes out on CR 86, just north of Gillespie Creek and has a gate and better parking. In retrospect, this would be the preferred way to get to the beaver dam and Indian Tomb Hollow.

Submitted 21 Jan 2010
Photos and Text: Larry Barkey

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