We took some time off from the paddle boards to hike a bit of Section 11 of the Pinhoti trail in Alabama. Our goal was to use different muscles, see some different scenery and to avoid crowds. We definitely succeeded in all those aims.
We hiked about 2.5 miles from the northern terminus of Section 11 at FS 500 to the summit of Dugger Mountain, heading basically west. We actually passed the summit, before deciding to take a little off trail jaunt in search of the summit. We followed a spur with an interesting line of exposed rock and came to a fairly flat and almost open area. Here, we found the footings of an old fire tower that had to be removed as Dugger Mountain is in a wilderness area. We could make out a slightly higher mound of rock and investigated. This was the actual summit as evidenced by USGS survey markers.
It’s hard to characterize this hike. Exploring off trail to find the summit was interesting as were the wild flowers, but, on the whole, it was a hot and fairly unremarkable trip. I think the hike would be better as a shuttle starting from the Burns trailhead because the creek near FS 500 is really pretty and would be a great place to finish.
The remoteness of the area certainly added to the experience. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail. The tread of the trail was fairly narrow owing to the relative lack of use. However, our main memory of the trail may be the prevalence of poison ivy – it was everywhere – and there was no avoiding it.
As I mentioned, the late spring wild flowers were interesting.
Steve loves oakleaf hydrangeas, and we saw many of these as we started our hike along a creek.
We saw plenty of black-eyed susans.
Steve’s working on capturing a cell phone shot.
We found some early blue berries near the summit for a sweet trailside treat.
There were wild grapes along the trail too, and the tendrils can make interesting images.
The image below is processed as if it were infrared. Green foliage looks white because it is warmer.
Young leaves are often reddish to protect them from sun damage while they are still growing. Here are sugar maple and sassafras leaves with this coloration. Anne is particularly attracted to the ‘Dr Seuss’ quality of sassafras leaves.
A detailed image of a rough stem rosinweed shows how complicated a simple flower really is.
Light hitting a zig zag spiderwort.
There was a great creek at the end of our hike where we enjoyed a picnic lunch.
This little guy was hanging out on a rock in the creek.