I work at a nature center in Alabama, and while I love being outside, working 5 days a week in weather in the high nineties with humidity that sits oppressively on you does not breed a desire for more wilderness connections. So despite moving to Birmingham in August to join Jesse, we haven't been outside much until recently. We had a couple day trips in the middle of September. And by day, I mean early morning before it got miserable out. And by trips I mean a couple miles. In fact, the first full weekend we actually explored outside was in late September - not coincidentally the first week that had a day below 90 degrees.
Our day trips were pleasant enough. We visited two local nature preserves in two consecutive weekends - Ruffner Mountain and Red Mountain Park. Ruffner Mountain has a nature center and preserve, and Red Mountain Park is a 501c3 with the goal of not taking any grant money and is therefore supported through donations, fundraisers, etc. I don't really agree with that model as a long-term success, nor think in the end it is the most self-sustaining, but they have a lovely dog park and some excellent trails. I'll be looking for ways to offer my support there in the future. We took a combination of the Quarry, Possom Loop, and the Ridge and Valley trails to make a morning hike.
|My reason to enjoy the dog park at Red Mountain!|
|Our campsite. All of the sites had pads like the one you see here, and they were all built into the hill, so most had a cement block support wall. Definitely new to us.|
The park is very big. We knew there were dedicated hiking trails and mixed use trails shared with mountain bikers. I asked at the ranger station for a map, and they charged us $1. The map was alright, but the trails on the map are not precise. There is an older park map in many of the kiosks that is precise, better follows the actual trail and aligns with the topographic base map. If you can, take a picture with your phone and use that.
|Here's a snap of the high quality map not for sale.|
|View from King's Throne|
|A cute little ring neck snake said hello!|