This past weekend was the Alabama Cup Whitewater Race on the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. It was sorta on my way so I stopped in to check out the festivities. The water was up and the course looked technical but doable. After my bit of paddling back in California, I felt like I could probably ferry and climb eddies within this course. Folks were nestled along the steep bank to grab a view of the single and tandam racers.
Later that afternoon, I made it back to my friends at Common Ground in Royal, AL. It was a warm welcome from everyone and a Sunday night potluck saw 36 people come out to greet me and celebrate Darryl's 68th birthday. While visiting I had opportunity to go on hikes, plant potatoes with Martha, weed the garden, spread mulch and work on mowers. It was a constant schedule to meet friends and share meals around the community. It has been enjoyable watching things shift and grow as more younger people are attrqcted to the land and it's value for the future. There is a special warmth here and care that is shared and spread among the characters of Hamilton Mountain.
Over at Trickle Creek where I spent 6 months, nature had taken over and was in charge. Privet hedges grow quickly and much of my work has returned. My old jeans however are still hung on the garden line.
I had the thought a few days ago to clean up the trashed Royal Cut-Off Rd. In an hour of work, Nancy and I picked up 6 or 7 bags of recycling, many glass jugs and a christmas tree (fake). Here she is caught red-handed.
It was a short but momentus visit but I plan to paddle back here for the Land Party in July. I imagine it will be a much needed break from my journey to reset, repack ans relax among friends.
After a memorable visit with family, I felt ready to continue on in the northeasterly direction toward friends in north Alabama. The southerly Gulf winds blew warm and humid to drive me back to the pine forests and river campsites of central Alabama.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has built major dams and lakes along the rivers in this region. Part of their management are the many recreation sites and boat ramps for access. Each day was an easy 100 mi scoot from one camp to another. Wildlife refuges harbor migratory birdlife and create a buffer between some of the gas and oil operations.
An old log church in a bend on Watermellon Rd outside Tuscaloosa catches my attention. The dove-tailed oak logs and wavy glass windows speak to another time and level of craftsmanship.
The winds shifted to the NW and blew a cold wind down the Tombigbee valley. I was foolish to believe March would be so docile and warm. Fortunately the day would be warm on my way to friends for the next few days.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.