|Foster arrived first. We had the same campsite as last year but they asked that we only keep a couple of vehicles up there after unloading. The number of picnic tables and privies had doubled (to two each). But hey, as Foster says, the only thing worse than a privy is no privy, so we were way ahead of the game.
The preserve had expanded as well, adding some territory to the north side, along with some new and improved camping areas. Updated maps were available to borrow as were some rather nice walking sticks.
The rest of us showed up before sunset. Mike and Gary provided exceptional firewood.
Mimi, Mike, and Larry went searching for the Dismalites (glow worms) under the waterfall after dark. Success!
The temperature overnight was ideal for sleeping. We dined on biscuits and eggs, spiced with elk and feral pig sausage, along with Starbuck's coffee for breakfast.
Doris, Shelby, and Lee joined us about 9 AM for the hike. We started at the waterfall, ducked down under and down hill to Waterfall Creek, along which we bushwhacked and criss-crossed for about half a mile. Not the easiest of hiking, but finally we reached the Waterfall Creek Bridge, itself not far from the Linden Meadows picnic area, with privy and fresh drinking water – and a blooming Lady Slipper Orchid not five minutes away.
At this point, we were back on the established trails (as if that could last) and we wandered along Cane Creek, favoring the west side trail on our way to Devil's Hollow.
We followed the Old Beaver Pond Loop trail to the new northern section and stopped for lunch at a camp site (with privy).
One goal for the day was to find a promised spectacle of quite rare French's Shooting Star wildflowers in the area between the Northwest and Northeast Falls. Wow! Even for those not into wildflowers, hundreds of these beautiful little plants under a bluff should interest anyone, certainly our crew.
We were sort of loosey-goosey with the trails during this period, ignoring obvious signs in favor of flagged trees and probably could have had a little easier going had we cared (or had to do it again).
We managed our way back to the lower Devil's Hollow Trail, then back to the enticing Hogback Boulders area and on to Cane Creek. Most then opted for the aptly named "Steep Trail" to the Point, an overlook not terribly far from our campground. Some chose the longer, probably more scenic, definitely less strenuous route. Warm either way in the afternoon sun.
|The campers all trucked ten miles over to the Rattlesnake Saloon, near the junction of AL 247 and Colbert County Rd 33, (coincidentally) adjacent to a horseriders campground. Most of the restaurant sits under an overhanging bluff which definitely provides some atmosphere. Burgers, chicken, beer – not the greatest, not the worst with the prices not too bad considering their "captive audience" aspect. We all had a good time and would go back.
On Sunday, in spite of Foster's previous night's avowal to "never eat again", at breakfast he managed to turn out tasty flapjacks for everyone including himself. These were topped with real maple syrup, fresh mango/strawberry/tangerine fruit salad plus more fresh strawberries, homemade blackberry jam and some wannabe-butter spreads. More fresh-perked Starbuck's Cafe Verona.
Are we are a hiking club with an eating disorder? Some have suggested that we are an eating club with an hiking disorder.
Storm-threatening gray clouds after breakfast no doubt hastened our departure. Most planned to stop at Walmart in Russellville in order to purchase pet treats to placate "neglected" cats and/or dogs and/or horses at home.
|To view more photos, please see our Picasa Web Album CCCNP 2011. Mike, whose camera does not fit in your pocket, has an album at Cane Creek Canyon Preserve in better resolution. (But since 2011 America cannot seem to resolve anything anyway, what's the difference?)|
|Submitted 06 May 2011|
|Photos: Doris, Gary, Mimi|