Hike Ratings

General Note: Saturday outings may take all day and last into early evening. The Sierra Club encourages carpooling to save fuel, but please be prepared to drive your own car on club outings.
Easy-Less than 5 miles, no serious elevation changes, no trail obstacles.
Moderate-5 to 10 miles, some elevation changes or rough trail (rock hopping), or trail obstacles such as creek crossings.
Strenuous- Over 10 miles, substantial elevation change (1000 ft or more), trail may be rocky, obstructed or nonexistent.
Exploratory - any event where the leader has not experienced the event, may fit any class above.

Cahaba River Society
Annual Meeting

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Birmingham Botanical Gardens

What does it take to save the Cahaba? vision innovation commitment perseverance
collaboration education integrity stewardship ...and you

5:30 pm: Buffet, interactive displays, Our One Mile greenways mapping
6:30 - 8:30 pm: Learning from leaders, Conservation Development & Cahaba Partner Awards, Election of 2011 Board of Directors

Please come and learn more about CRS, meet our members,
Board and staff, and help us launch our 23rd year!

Drilling and the Gulf: Answers and Challenges

The independent commission appointed by President Obama to investigate last year's oil disaster in the Gulf has issued its final report and -- who'd have guessed? -- it reads more like a thriller than the work of a committee. The New York Times called Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling "riveting and chilling," while Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune blogged that "it's enough of a page-turner that you almost wonder whether the Commission hired Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) as a ghostwriter."

Besides identifying widespread problems with the oil-drilling industry that demand immediate reform, the report makes a strong case for why we need a balanced energy policy that encourages renewables and offers a clear path to a future without fossil fuels.

For a copy of the report you could shell out $39 to the Government Printing Office. Here's a better idea: Read this Compass blog post on e-book options (including some free ones).

Volunteers Needed for Whitewater Races in February, March

The 2011 Alabama Cup Whitewater Slalom Series is coming up in February and March, and the groups sponsoring the canoe and kayak races are looking for volunteers now.

Volunteers are needed to help Alabama Cup Racing Association, Friends of the Locust Fork River, Mulberry Race Committee and numerous sponsors that put on the three race series.

“This volunteering is a low pressure job with fun filled opportunities all weekend,” according to the press release. “Volunteer for all weekend or all day or half a day.”

The Locust Fork Invitational will be held February 5-6, the Mulberry Race is March 5-6, and the Locust Fork Whitewater Classic is March 26-27. learn more on www.locustfork.net

Alabama Rivers Alliance releases 2010 annual report

The Alabama Rivers Alliance has released its 2010 annual report.
In this report, you will find highlights of our key projects over the past year along with our financial information. Under each project, we have shared some of the important successes of the year. We could not achieve any of this without you, our supporters. We thank you and look forward to continuing to work with you in 2011 for healthy rivers, healthy people, and a healthy Alabama. 
http://www.alabamarivers.org/



February 2011

Outings and Events

Cahaba Group

Sat. 1/29. Join us for a day hike on the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail on the shore of Lake Martin. the trails skirt the southeastern shoreline. the trails are routed through varied flora and fauna. we will see long leaf pine, mountain laurel, low and high bush blue berry, redbud, sourwood, dog wood, big leaf magnolia, and large thickets of Catawba Rhododendron to name a few. dear, turkey and numerous birds, including the bald eagle can be seen on the trail. eleven miles of trail are open. we will do the 3.6 mile loop Deadening Alpine Trail and one or two of the three to four mile trails also (depends on time). the Deadening Trail has some steep sections and runs close to the lake. bring sturdy shoes, water, a snack or lunch and dress for the weather. rated moderate. meet at Cracker Barrel on highway 280 and I459 at 07:30 am. optional dinner after the hike. email kennethhyche@yahoo.com or call at 205-540-3930 with any questions.

2/5. Waterfalls of the Bankhead National Forest. Join us as we make the rounds to see as many spectacular waterfalls in the northwestern corner of the state as we can in one day! Winter is the time for water levels to be at their highest! We'll hit up Upper Caney Falls, Kinlock Falls, Mize Mill Falls, Turkey Foot Creek Falls, Collier Creek Falls, Holmes Chapel Falls, and Coal Mine Branch Falls. This hike gains a rating of strenuous due to the unevenness in terrain at each falls, even though we'll drive from falls to falls. Collier Creek Falls and Coal Mine Branch Falls will require some moderate bushwhacking. Make absolutely sure to bring a camera. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Optional dinner afterwards. Call or e-mail for meeting place and time. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net

2/12. Waterfalls of the Talladega National Forest. Join us as we make the rounds to see as many of the spectacular waterfalls in the east-central part of the state as we can in one day! Winter is the time for water levels to be at their highest! We'll hit up Nimblewill's Twin Falls (aka Hillabee Falls), Shinbone Falls, High Falls, Cheaha Falls, Devil's Den Falls, Hopeful Falls, and Salt Creek Falls. This hike gains a rating of strenuous due to the unevenness in terrain at each falls, even though we'll drive from falls to falls. All of the falls, with the exception of Hopeful Falls and High Falls, will require some bushwhacking and scrambling. Make absolutely sure to bring a camera. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Optional dinner afterwards. Call or e-mail for meeting place and time. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net

Tuesday, 2/15: Cahaba Sierra Group February Meeting, DR. BOB'S TRAVELING SNAKE SHOW!
6:30 P.M: Hoover Public Library Meeting Room. Dr. Robert W. Hastings will treat us include to a slide show of the 41 species of Alabama snakes, emphasizing identifying characteristics, along with LIVE SPECIMENS of some of our more common species. Dr. Bob is a professional educator, zoologist, and marine scientist who has served as a college professor for 30 years, including 17 years as director of Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. Most recently he has served as director of the Alabama Natural Heritage Program.

Dr. Bob has degrees in marine biology from the University of Florida and Florida State University. He has collected and studied snakes for over 50 years, and has a special interest in their conservation and protection. Dr. Bob is an active environmentalist, and has received numerous awards for environmental education.

2/19. Pinhoti Challenge dayhike. For hike #2 in our series, we'll enjoy the section of trail between the CCC road just north of Mt Cheaha and County Road 24 (Abel Road). We'll start at the Cheaha Scenic Drive and proceed down the CCC road (the original way into Cheaha State Park) passing rock retaining walls and over an amazing arched bridge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930's, before wading Hillabee Creek on the trail. The total distance of this hike is approximately 10 miles, gaining a rating of strenuous. Hiking boots a necessity. Bring plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Optional dinner afterwards. Trip Leader: Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879. Call for meeting place and time, or e-mail jay_hudson@bellsouth.net

2/26. Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve dayhike. Tucked away in the most northwestern corner of Alabama near Tuscumbia, Jim and Faye Lacefield have amassed more than 400 acres of land and opened it to the public. It is a treasure-trove of waterfalls, rock shelters, and giant boulders carved out of a type of rock known as Hartselle sandstone. These unique formations have led to many microclimates and microhabitats supporting numerous rare plants, wildflowers, and over 100 tree species. The Lacefields have graciously opened this jewel to the public year-round at no charge. There are over 11 miles of hiking trails, several maintained camping sites, and many spots for picnicking and wading in the creeks. We'll be checking out the main trail in the bottom of the canyon, so the rating for the hike is strenuous. Hiking boots a necessity. Bring plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Optional dinner afterwards. Trip Leader: Ken Hyche, 205-540-3930. Call for meeting place and time, or e-mail kennethhyche@yahoo.com

3/5. Big Tree dayhike. Join us as we trek to the largest tree in the State of Alabama. According to the Alabama Forestry Commission (which keeps notes on Champion Trees of Alabama) this Yellow Poplar has a 252 inch circumference, a 153 foot height, and a 73 foot spread. Author Rick Bass, upon visiting the big tree, had this to say, "We pass a tree bigger than the rest, and pause to marvel at it. Five of us ring it, and try to encircle it by holding hands, but cannot; a sixth is needed, and then a seventh. We cheer when we link up, though; we have it trapped. We stand there for a moment and listen to it grow. It would probably rattle windows in Birmingham and cause power outages in Atlanta if it ever fell. May the woods never hear such a noise." We will be going in via Whiteoak Hollow. 8 miles round trip. Rated strenuous, as boulder scrambling and creek crossings are frequent. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. There will be an optional dinner afterwards. Meet 7 a.m. in Birmingham at the Cracker Barrel at the I-459 /U.S. 280 junction, or at 8:30 a.m. at the Sipsey River Picnic Area. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net.

3/12. Indian Tomb Hollow dayhike, Bankhead National Forest. Join us as we trek to one of the lesser-known areas of the Bankhead. This is an area with a large botanical display, as well as several large Indian marker trees, and the Gillespie family cemetery. This unique box canyon contains large rock walls that were reportedly used as Indian burial tombs. Rated moderate. Make sure to bring a camera. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. There will be an optional dinner afterwards. Meet 7 a.m. in Birmingham at the Cracker Barrel at the I-459 /U.S. 280 junction, or at 8:30 a.m. at the Sipsey River Picnic Area. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net.

3/19. Pinhoti Challenge dayhike. We'll make up Hike #1 that was disrupted by Snowmageddon 2011. This month, we'll enjoy the section of trail up and over Oakey Mountain, Alabama's 3rd highest point. 8.2 miles. Strenuous. Not for the faint of heart. After leaving the Terrapin Creek watershed lake dam, the trail gains over 1000 feet of elevation in under 1 mile. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. There will be an optional dinner afterwards. Meet 7 a.m. in Birmingham at the Cracker Barrel at the I-459 /U.S. 280 junction, or at 8:30 a.m. at the Oxford Target just off I-20 east at exit 188. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net.

3/26. Eagle Creek Falls, Little Ugly Creek, Sipsey Wilderness dayhike. Join us as we trek off-trail to one of the lesser known canyons in Sipsey. We will hit up Eagle Creek falls, , then turn up the side canyon formed by Little Ugly Creek to see Deer Skull Falls, before coming back to Eagle Creek and heading downstream to venture up the side creeks of Hemlock Creek, Fernglade Creek, and Wolfpen Creek – each with their own respective falls. Not for the beginner, as there will be LOTS of bushwhacking. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. There will be an optional dinner afterwards. Meet 7 a.m. in Birmingham at the Cracker Barrel at the I-459 /U.S. 280 junction, or at 8:30 a.m. at the Sipsey River Picnic Area. Jay Hudson, 205-907-6879, jay_hudson@bellsouth.net.

Coosa Valley Group

Thursday, 2/10. The February meeting of the Coosa Valley Group will feature Archeology of Northern Alabama National Parks with speaker Larry Beane. The meeting will be Thursday, February 10 at the Joe M. Ford Center, Room 210, 405 Korner St., Gadsden 35903. Come on down at 6:30 pm and don't forget to bring your own cup. Refreshments will be provided.

Sat. 2.12. Tour Little River Canyon Field School. Beane will also give a tour of Little River Canyon School in February with lunch at Wildflower Café in Mentone. We will meet Saturday, February 12, at 7:45 am until mid-afternoon. Be sure to call David at 256-393-6820 to make reservations for the outing.

Mobile Group

Tuesday, February 1. General Meeting
Mobile Bay Group Sierra Club will feature a program with discussion by Malcolm Steeves, "About Nitrogen and Why You Should Care" Currently the world’s most notorious marine dead zones are in the Gulf of Mexico, from the mouth of the Mississippi River to beyond the Texas border. (This does not take into account the dead zones created by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from April to July 2010.) Use of chemical fertilizers (phosphorus and nitrogen) is considered the major human-related cause of dead zones around the world. The drainage of these nutrients are affecting important shrimp fishing grounds and causing reproductive problems in all marine life. Malcolm Steeves will present an overview of our need for, and use of, nitrogen that reveals consequences of the technical solutions presently used to feed the world. What does the continued use of nitrogen mean to the Gulf Coast and MAWSS customers? Find out "About Nitrogen and Why You Should Care" (The General Public is invited, No Admission) Please forward this invitation to any interested people or groups.
The exact meeting location at 5 Rivers may vary from month to month, so please follow the Sierra Club signs. Location address: 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, 30945 Five Rivers Blvd., Spanish Fort, AL 36527  (entrance is across from Meaher State Park on the Mobile Bay Causeway).

For more information, please contact 702-496-5050 or email: mcadamsdavis@earthlink.net

Montgomery Group

Thursday, Feb. 17. Note that our February meeting will be held on the 3rd Thursday (February 17, 2011), not the 2nd Thursday due to some conflicts on the 10th. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM.

We are especially privileged to have Dan Atkinson of WSFA TV's weather team with us this evening. (See his bio at http://www.wsfa.com/global/story.asp?S=4383605) He will be talking to us about the "Effects of Weather on the Environment in our area". This will be a particularly interesting meeting and I urge you to make plans to attend and to help publicize the event as well. The public is invited. As usual we will be meeting in room 25 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church at 6610 Vaughn Road in Montgomery (next to St. James school, lots of construction will identify Aldersgate). Light refreshments will be provided.

Please direct any questions or comments to David Norwood, dn355@bellsouth.net, 334 315-6081 or
Bob Hastings, bhastings@knology.net, or Dick Short, dickshort@mindspring.com

Don’t miss our Monthly Meetings! The second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM at the
Aldersgate United Methodist Church (room 25)
6610 Vaughn Road
Montgomery, AL 36116
(334) 272-6152

North Alabama Group

Tuesday, January 25 - Tuesday Evening Hike. Easy
Depart at 6pm from Land Trust parking lot located at 907 Franklin Street.  All dogs must be on a leash. Though not strenuous, all hikes may be vigorous.  For directions or questions contact Ken Shrider at 256-772-9442.

Saturday, January 29 - Mtn Mist Marathon Hike, Part I (The Land Trust). Strenuous. Hike the trails where thousands of runners have slid in the mud, stumbled over tree roots, crossed slick stream beds, ascended rocks holding onto trees and crevices, to eventually triumph at the finish line for well earned bragging rights.  With some trail modifications, we'll travel the 50K course, approximately 14 to 15 miles on each side, as closely as possible over two Saturdays.  This is not for the weak of feet as the terrain can be rough and we need to maintain a moderate pace.  Dress for the weather, wear good hiking boots and bring snacks, lunch, water, and a few dollars for the park entrance fee.  We'll start at the hiker's parking lot in Monte Sano State Park at 7:30am sharp.  For an extra work-out, arrive late.  For more information please contact Charlie Cohen at 256-837-3622 (home), 256-961-7901 (office)

Sunday January 30 - Quillan Creek/Parker Canyon hike. Strenuous.
We will hike two of the most scenic gorges in the Sipsey Wilderness. This is mostly off trail (equivalent to a 12-mile hike). Be prepared for MANY creek crossings. Maybe we'll see some of those gigantic curtains of ice at all the dripping springs! Rain date will be Sunda, Feb. 6. Leader approval required. Limited to 10 people by Wilderness Area regulations. Contact Sam Denham (256)539-1033(h), (256)961-0436(w).

Tuesday, February 1 - Tuesday Evening Hike. Easy.
Depart at 6pm from Land Trust parking lot located at 907 Franklin Street. All dogs must be on a leash. Though not strenuous, all hikes may be vigorous. For directions or questions contact Alan Greene at 256-534-7849

Saturday, February 5 - Mtn Mist Marathon Hike, Part II (Monte Sano). Strenuous.
Hike the trails where thousands of runners have slid in the mud, stumbled over tree roots, crossed slick stream beds, ascended rocks holding onto trees and crevices, to eventually triumph at the finish line for well earned bragging rights. With some trail modifications, we'll travel the 50K course, approximately 14 to 15 miles on each side, as closely as possible over two Saturdays. This is not for the weak of feet as the terrain can be rough and we need to maintain a moderate pace. Dress for the weather, wear good hiking boots and bring snacks, lunch, water, and a few dollars for the park entrance fee. We'll start at the hiker's parking lot in Monte Sano State Park at 7:30am sharp. For an extra work-out, arrive late. For more information please contact Charlie Cohen at 256-837-3622 (home), 256-961-7901 (office) or Sandy Kiplinger at sandykip@juno.com .

Tuesday, February 8 - Tuesday Evening Hike. Easy.
Depart at 6pm from Land Trust parking lot located at 907 Franklin Street. All dogs must be on a leash. Although not strenuous, all hikes may be vigorous. For directions or questions please contact Carolyn Brooks at 256-852-0973.

Saturday, February 12 - Carter Mountain Under the Bluff Hike. Strenuous.
Meet at the Winchester Road Publix at 9:00 am. We'll see rock formations and nice views on this 8-10 mile hike part of which is off trail and steep in places. Bring lunch and water Call Joette at 256.776.3551 for more information.

Saturday, February 12 - Keith Trail hike. Moderate.
Join Doug on a hike in Monte Sano State Park. Hike trails will include the Mountain Mist, Sinks, Stone Cuts, Logan's Point, Super Cuts, Keith, Chestnut, Goat and then the Sinks back to the parking lot. Meet at Hiker's Parking Lot near the campground and Country Store in the park at the Y in the road off Nolen Drive, at 9:00am. Come enjoy the geologic topography of Monte Sano. Bring water, snacks, and a lunch. Call Doug Horacek for more information at 256-772-6788.

Sunday, February 13 -Honeysuckle Elimination. Easy.
Bush honeysuckle is an invasive species which threatens to crowd out native trees and plants on parts of Monte Sano The local Sierra Club has been working to keep the honeysuckle contained for a number of years. Please come and help. Meet at 1:00pm. at the Toll Gate Road trailhead across from Fagan Spring Apartments. Bring gloves and loppers if you have them. Task earns credit with the Land Trust for removing invasive plants. Call Doug Horacek at 256-772-6788 for more information.

Tuesday, February 15 - Tuesday Evening Hike. Easy.
Depart at 6pm from Land Trust parking lot located at 907 Franklin Street. All dogs must be on a leash. Though not strenuous, all hikes may be vigorous. For directions or questions please contact Troy Fuqua at 256-658-5717.

2/17. Group Meeting. The February speaker will talk about waterfalls in North Alabama and southern Tennessee. The North Alabama Sierra Club meets at 6:30pm the third Thursday of every month at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library in the main auditorium. The library is in downtown Huntsville on Monroe St. just off Governor's Drive. Everyone is invited to attend.

Saturday, February 19 - Pigeon Mountain hike. Strenuous.
Pigeon Mountain is a spur off the east side of Lookout Mountain and is part of the Cumberland Plateau. We will hike the Pocket Trail which includes a picturesque waterfall, wildflowers, and a wide range ofgeological formations. Bring lunch and water. The hike is 8 miles and rated strenuous due to the 1200 ft elevation gain. We will eat at a local restaurant on the way back. Meet at the Publix in Hampton Cove at 8:00 am. For more information contact Tom Burley at 883-4267 or tdburley@bellsouth.net

Tuesday, February 22- Tuesday Evening Hike. Easy.
Depart at 6pm from Land Trust parking lot located at 907 Franklin Street. All dogs must be on a leash. Though not strenuous, all hikes may be vigorous. For directions or questions please contact Judy Burley at 256-883-4267.

Saturday, February 26 – Sunset and Night hike. Strenuous.
7 miles with 1000+ elevation gain, 1000- decent at night. Headlamp required with a limit of 10 energetic hikers. Watch sunset over Madison and Jackon counties on Bice mountain. We will cook smores before returning after dark. Meet at Publix at 3:30pm. Will leave from Steve and Beth Jackson's home at 4:00pm and return around 8:15pm. Bring water, snack, and headlamp. Contact Steve Jackson at 256-337-9702 or jacksonfinancial@knology.net

Check the North Alabama Group's website for the most up-to-date outings information!

West Alabama Group

Sun. 2/13, 2 pm – 4 pm. Sipsey River Recreational Area Walk. Come for a Sunday afternoon walk in the recreational area. We will not enter the floodplain of the Sipsey River because of the seasonal flooding now occurring. We will view some of the slightly elevated wetlands and woodlands. This walk is fairly easy (no hills, no significant distance) but damp, so wear you waterproof shoes. Meet at 2 pm at the parking lot in the Sipsey River Recreational Area. (Rain date is Sun. 2/20.) For additional info call Dexter Duren at (205) 393-0927.

Thur. 2/17. 7:00pm. Monthly meeting. "Photographing birds and flowers" Temd Deason.
St. Francis Parish, Mulvoy Building, 811 Fifth Avenue, Tuscaloosa.  Due to construction access from 4th Avenue off University.

Sat. 2/26 Perry Lakes Park Walk and Picnic. In this uniquely beautiful part of Alabama there have been some improvements. Improvements that help the general public get a better view and appreciation of the park. If you are not afraid of heights, you can walk up the 100 foot tall viewing tower that overlooks the oxbow lake filled with Baldcypresses festooned with Spanish moss. Also, there is an active Bald Eagle’s nest on the property. If water levels permit, we can walk to the Cahaba River’s largest sandbar. The trails are all well marked and level. Bring a picnic lunch and water. Meet at Books-a-Million in Tuscaloosa at 8:00am. For additional info call Dexter Duren at (205) 393-0927.

Check us out on the web:
Visit our website for up-to-date info.: alabama.sierraclub.org/west-al.html.