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Fri.-Sun., Nov. 18-20, 2011
@ Camp McDowell,
105 Delong Rd, Nauvoo, AL
hosted by the
West Alabama Sierra Group

Shoal Creek Paddle

What an absolutely beautiful paddle! The bluffs were different than the ones on the Sipsey, Elk, and Bear. I could see wide bands of red rock interlacing the blue-grays of the limestone; Absolutely gorgeous! The larkspur were in full bloom too as were the numerous herons, cardinals, and a few bird species I didn't recognize. At one point I was on a collision course with a very long and vigorously swimming snake. Thunk! I wondered if I would instantly levitate out of my boat if it hopped in....thankfully that didn't happen. Lisa's eyes were so wide I thought they'd drop out.

Sergy kept violating the "No Wake" policies with his clean, powerful strokes (Mr. Speed-Demon...). I also had the opportunity to watch Kevin and Michelle paddling their handsome tandem kayak. It looked like ballet on water. It was good being out on the river with all of them again. These people are terrific to paddle with, and I'm glad that the warm weather is here. We had a brand new paddler with us, Mary, and she paddled her boat as though she was born to it.

For those of you wanting to paddle from Iron City to Goose Shoals, be aware of how to manage the take out: Go in just before the bridge on river left. There is a small dirt area to land the boats followed by approximately ten linear feet of rip-rap walking and then dirt to the road. We worked together to get the boats and gear up to the road (County Road 8). If you opt for any other route you'll be on treacherous footing for a very long uphill hike.
-       Debra Wonder

A Book of Interest

Fighting the Devil In Dixie:  How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan In Alabama
by Wayne Greenhaw
Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago
316 pages (2011)

From the title, one can see that this book is very different from those usually discussed here.  However, it contains important material that many of us experienced and are still attempting to understand why.

As a result of his writing skills, Alabama native Wayne Greenhaw became an accomplished, prize-winning journalist and author of twenty two books -- mostly nonfiction.  Hundreds of his articles appeared in Alabama, regional, national, and international publications.  Many agree his most significant work was in writing about the civil rights period from the 1950s to the 1980s.  Greenhaw interviewed and wrote of many of the well-known and not so well-known people involved in the civil rights struggles of that era, especially those in Alabama -- many of whom are still alive.

The pages of this book contain painful messages that describe times of hate, turmoil, and tragedy perpetrated by relatively few, without initial significant reactions by a majority of citizens.  (Of course, this was not unique to Alabama; it occurred in many other locations as well, especially in the South.)

While most of us recall many of the events from actual experience or from the study of history, it is useful to be reminded of the larger picture of those lamentable times -- of the struggles for civil rights for all.  The author does this well in a book that is certainly worth reading and remembering.

Wayne Greenhaw died May 31 in Birmingham.  The cause of his death was from complications following heart surgery.

Submitted by David Newton

Learn about the many great Sierra Club outings here.

North Alabama Sierra Now on Facebook

The North Alabama Sierra Club now has a Facebook page. Among other things, this allows hike leaders to post last minute updates about hikes if the weather is questionable. It will also allow Sierra Club members to communicate more easily about outings and environmental issues in the area. Check us out!
- The North Alabama Sierra Club



A Tribute to Long-time Sierra Club outings leader Jay Hudson

Long time Sierra Club member, hike leader and all around friend of the earth Jay Hudson died suddenly at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon June 7, 2011 of a pulmonary embolism.  

From his brother, Jeff Hudson, on Facebook: Thank you all so much for the posts. My family is heart broken for a brother, son, uncle to be gone so soon. Jay suffered a pulmonary embolism tue at approx. 3:30pm while standing in the parking deck at St Vincents Hospital. We are told he went suddenly and hopfully without suffering.

In Leiu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established. You can send a check to Bumpus Middle School with the Jay Hudson Memorial written in memo line. If enough funds are raised, the school will build a hiking trail on the school grounds and name it the Jay Hudson Memorial Trail. What better way to honor Jay.

For the Jay Hudson Memorial, checks should be made payable to Bumpus Middle School with Jay Hudson Memorial written in memo line of check. Checks should be mailed to Bumpus Middle School, Attn: Jay Hudson Memorial, 1730 Lake Cyrus Drive, Hoover, AL 35244.

Photo album of some photos of Jay>>>

Below are links to some of the many articles Jay wrote over the years.

And here is a compliation of some of Jay's earlier articles about the Pinhoti Trail>>>

Chilling Out on Monte Sano

"Chill Out on the Mountain" hike line-up: 7:45 a.m. Charlie's strenuous, blood pumping, hike through the Hollow 8:30 a.m. Sandy's sleepyhead moderate hike After lunch, walking-off Chef Steve's great chili with Doug

Climate Change in Rolling Stone

You may have heard a bit about the article on climate change by Al Gore in Rolling Stone. For an unfiltered view, you can, and should, read it. Here's the link:

Of course, there are many sources to cite (other than Al Gore), but it seems the membership of the Sierra Club should try to educate others about climate change, e.g., write letters to editors, contact elected officials, speak to civic organizations.

I really hope you will spread the word. Planet Earth, and most everything that lives here, really needs our help.

Submitted by David Newton

News From Coosa Valley

In May Darryl Patton came to talk to the Coosa Valley Group about herbs and their medicinal purposes.  It was a very interesting talk and included lots of chewing and tasting of the various plants he brought to sample.  We chewed sassafras leaves while he talked about boiling them and making a rinse to keep your hair shiny and healthy.  He talked about scratching the stalk of a bolting wild lettuce plant and then smoking the sap after it dries to relieve insomnia.  Several of us resolved to try that one.  Patton also gave the most unusual remedy for a spider bite that I have ever heard.  He said to microwave a chunk of Irish potato, (also called hash potato up here on Lookout Mountain) until it is soft.  Then place it over the bite.  Use care to wait until it is still hot, but not hot enough to burn your skin.  Leave it that way for a while and it will draw the venom out of the wound.  As someone who typically gets bitten occasionally stepping into green abysses to get the biggest and sweetest blackberries I feel I may try that one soon.  Hope you didn’t miss it!  It was a great meeting.

Veggie Burger, Anyone?

Hamburgers have long been considered one of America’s most traditional foods.  But, many of us may soon be stocking our freezers with veggie burgers instead.   A recent Reuters report suggests that WTO rules will soon prohibit the labeling of meat as to the country of origin.  That means that American consumers will have no idea where the meat products they consume originated or if they were processed in a manner which would induce them to eat the meat.

In his 2000 book and later movie Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser wrote,  “The days when hamburger meat was ground in the back of a butcher shop, out of scraps from one or two sides of beef, are long gone.  Like the multiple sex partners that helped spread the AIDS epidemic, the huge admixture of animals in most American ground beef plants has played a crucial role in spreading  E.coli .  A single fast food hamburger now contains meat from dozens or even hundreds of different cattle.”

The ground meat horror stories publicized by Schlosser helped to push for the inclusion of COOL (country of origin labeling) in the 2007-2008 Farm Bill.   COOL said that beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or goat meat could only be designated as “Made in the USA” if it were “exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.”  Although President Bush originally vetoed the bill, Congress overrode the veto and COOL became law on May 22, 2008.   Now the American COOL law has been challenged. 

Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, European Union, Guatemala, India, Korea, New Zealand, Peru, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei have all asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to step in to squash the U.S. meat labeling program.  It is still unclear which WTO rule the U.S. is violating by labeling meat. The probable conclusion is that the U.S. can’t institute a meat labeling program if by doing so consumers will choose against buying meat from unknown countries whose processing standards are hygienically questionable ( and ground meat that may come from hundreds of animals and dozens of countries).

WTO rules puts trade volume and corporate interests first--- way ahead of consumer safety or environmental standards.  The laws we, in a democratic society, pass to protect our health and our safety mean nothing in the face of WTO rules and corporate profit.  In other words, the trade rules that our country has agreed to follow rolls back democracy.

from Joan Jones Holtz, Sierra Club Trade Team, National Sierra Club

Enjoying Some Good Old Alabama Summertime Air?

Let's help clean it up! Visit to learn how. Learn more about air pollution here as well:

What Happened to Dolphin-Safe Tuna?

Between 1959 and 1972 millions of dolphins drowned when they became ensnarled in mile-long fishing nets used to catch tuna.  Fishermen in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, which includes southern California, Mexico and South American, would deliberately chase schools of dolphin to encircle them in these huge purse seine nets.  Since dolphins tend to congregate above schools of tuna, the fisherman knew they would lead them to the tuna. 

In 1972, in response to an outraged American public who had refused to buy tuna, Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  That Act prohibited U.S. fishermen from using the purse seine fishing nets to catch tuna.

In 1988 Congress passed amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act which banned tuna imports from countries whose fishermen used purse seine nets to catch tuna.  Studies had verified that at least three species of dolphin had been severely depleted due to this method of fishing.

read the full article here>>>

from Joan Jones Holtz. Sierra Club Responsible Trade Team, National Sierra Club

5 Reasons to Put Solar Panels on Your Roof

What's not to like about a source of energy that doesn't have to be mined, refined, gasified, or blown out of a mountain? Solar's about as green as it gets, and -- unlike a coal plant or a hydroelectric dam -- you can even put it on the roof of your house! Even better, it might not cost you anything to start saving on electricity. Read all of Michael Brune's (Sierra Club Executive Director) article "Every Rooftop Matters" here.

Sierra Club Outings

Summer is here!!! Go paddling with friends, take a great hike! Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues! Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>