Here’s an interesting article on how to survive the unexpected in one of Alabama’s coolest places – the Sipsey Wilderness.
We’ve spent many nights in those woods and always have a great time. We even had one of the adventures described in the article. After half a day’s hike, we reached a spot where there should have been a trail, but there wasn’t. There was a creek, though, and I knew it would end up right where we wanted to be, so we decided to bushwhack along creek.
It was fine for a couple of miles, but then the canyon walls started getting closer, and the trees and brush denser. Eventually we were forced to walk, and the dog to swim, in the creek. That was no fun, and it got even less fun as the sun started setting. Thankfully, we reached a flat spot where Clifty Creek flowed into the larger one, and we camped there for the night.
With two people and the dog to produce heat, and sleeping bags and the tent to keep it close, we were perfectly warm that night. But the next morning we stepped outside to 25 degree temperatures. Our wet socks and shoes had frozen where we hung them. It was bad enough putting them on our feet, so there was no way we were going to hike through the creek again.
Instead, we headed uphill and battled through downed trees and dense bushes until we reached an old logging road. We climbed over and under the downed trees on the road for several miles until we finally hit a marked trail. That took us down to the bridge at Hubbard creek. Then we hiked along the river to Cranal road. Our original plan was to go back up the Sipsey and out to the car. But the adventures of the last two days and the resulting blisters led us out to the highway where we hitched a ride to the car.
It was a great trip. That night on the creek was scary, because I really did not know how we were going to get back to the main trail. I knew where we were, and where we needed to go, but getting from one to the other was a different story. Even so, I’d never been that isolated in the woods. No people anywhere near us, not even any trails. It was amazing, and one of these days I’m going to go back.