Friday, July 18, 2014

River Low Mountain High

This past week was unseasonably mild with low humidity and since we had been working hard on the garden, art and various things, which I will show ya'll soon, we thought a fun day out was in order.  I was also waiting rather impatiently on the kiln to cool so I could see some new experiments, so a road trip was a good way to keep me from opening the kiln too soon.  We had talked often about going back to Little River Canyon and some of ya'll may remember our trip there a couple of years ago.  That trip was in the winter though and I wanted to experience it in warm weather.
The water levels were down quite a bit but it was still very pretty and actually safer to do a little swimming.
This is the main falls up near the entrance to the park.  Since the weather was SO nice I expected the place to be overran but it wasn't terribly crowded.

I love the rock formations at this place.  I'm not sure what type of rock that is; have to do a little more studying on the subject.  Northern Alabama has a lot of limestone and that may be what it is but I'm not sure.  At the entrance to the park, which is a National Preserve, they have a really nice, large visitor's center, which has also won various awards for it's "green" building components.  You can watch films there about the history of the area etc. and I believe they also hold various conferences and classes there that are somehow affiliated with Jacksonville State University.

These people were enjoying a not too deep swimming hole set back from the falls a bit.  After we took a few photos here we decided to go all the way to the other end of the park and drive the length of it, back up to this point.

We were about a third of the way up from the "bottom" of the park when we noticed a sign for Orbix hot glass studio.  It said welcome to the public so we decided to go in and see what was going on.  Turns out it was a real high class studio and these fellers really knew their business.  They had an area where you could sit and watch them work but were close enough to talk to them, so we watched them make 2 or 3 of these pitchers.

Excuse the crappy photos.  I'm still learning this camera and some of the settings were not correct.  Anyhoo, this was very interesting and it was amazing to watch them.  They had recently been featured in one of the fancy Birmingham style magazines, so they were working on production in anticipation of orders from the coverage.  I hope they do well.  Of course they had a showroom there so you could buy directly from them also after you watched them at work.  Well, we might could if we win the lottery but somebody could buy the stuff.

It was fun and a nice extra to the trip.

There are various falls throughout Little River with varying degrees of difficulty to get to them.  Some of them are right by the road and some of them require a fairly strenuous hike down to them.  And then a real strenuous hike back up.  Maybe one day.

Little River is the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi and is unique because it flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain, which is kinda flat on top.

Over the years I've read or heard people, who had to travel through Alabama to get to the beach or other destinations say, 'well, we drove through as fast as we could to get out of Alabama!'.  Ya, and miss some of the most beautiful sites around and wonderful places to visit.

'Course, if people have that ugly an attitude about us, we don't want them to stop here noways.  Keep our beautiful treasures to ourselves.

As we approached the north end of the park again we stopped off at one of the more popular falls because it wasn't too far a hike down to the water and I was determined to do some swimming.  When the water is higher some of these areas can be quite dangerous but right now the water was wonderful.  Deep, languid pools that were like your own little spa.  Well, you and the little fishies, which were abundant.  The water was wonderfully only slightly cool.  The perfect temperature to me.

This feller was trying his hand at some fly fishing.  I imagine this area would be great for that.  There are a fair number of camping places available here also, as well as cabins to rent etc.

Just down from where I was swimming in a kinda shallow pool was a much larger, deeper pool that was very popular.  These little redneck kids ain't skeered of no high jumps.  Yes, I know that is horrible grammar etc. in case anybody is thinking of my last post!  It was good to see most of the kids jumping were wearing float jackets though.

This is the side opposite from where they were jumping from so high but it had some good launching points too.  When I was a kid, and where, you were high-falutin' if you got to go to a real pool to swim.  The creek and railroad trestle was were I learned to swim and also got over my fear of jumping from high places.  Places like this are the best swimming holes in my opinion.  Beautiful clean water in a wonderful area.  Oh, the park is free also, so it's a great place to come frequently, as I imagine many locals do.  Bring you a picnic lunch down here and spend all day.

On our hike back out I even spotted some native flora I'd never seen before.  I'll have to see if I can find this species in my new Alabama fern book.  I also spied a plant near this that looked very much like a native wild orchid but I could have been mistaken.

And on the way out we stopped to take our required sign location photo.  One day I'm gonna get off my butt and put all these in the travel scrapbook I want to make.
So, we had a great day and I was wore out by the time we got home but we really enjoyed it.  If you've never been to Little River Canyon I highly recommend it.


Sissy said...

Really beautiful views, Annie. Lucky you two, able to travel and find such gems. How I miss prowling about out in nature.

Both plants grow here. The needle-like plant is called ground ivy, which is actually a "medicinal", bought by wholesaler. At pennies per pound, I never gathered it! It makes for nice holiday decoration though - permit required to gather.

Red berries appear on the tiny green leaf plant - I'm thinking teaberry, then NOT. Oh dear, my memory - going, going, gone.

May I have & save a copy of one stream picture?

Island Rider said...

We really enjoyed our trip to Little River a few years ago. Beautiful place! We swam at the top of the falls. Wish I had known about these other swimming holes. It was a disappointment to me that we did not make it to the glass place. They were closed while we were there. Glad you got to go!

edifice rex said...

Hey Sissy! Yes, we are lucky to have the time and such to go and I try to always remember that. Thanks for the info on the plants! that helps a lot and you are most welcome to save any of the photos.

Hey IR! Yeah, I thought of ya'll and wondered if you had seen the glass place. Too bad; you would have really enjoyed it. The people were super nice.

Anonymous said...

Your plant is Diphasiastrum digitatum, around here called Ground Cedar. (Ground ivy is something else around here.) I tried transplanting some from a plant rescue site once, but it didn't "take" unfortunately. It is a very old plant, I believe. Used to be called Lycopodium digitatum. It's a clubmoss.


ErinFromIowa said...

What an awesome little staycation. Amazing rock formations. Everything is so green and lush. Was it hot in the area where you sat watching them work with glass?

edifice rex said...

Hey Karen! Ah, okay! It did look like a "cedary" type plant. I was so tempted to take a few sample to see if I could get it to grow here, but I did not. lol!

Hey Erin! Yeah, it's beautiful up there. No, it was quite cool where we were sitting, which was about 10-12 feet away from where the guy was working but a little further to the furnaces. They did tell us that they normally close down during August though, because it just becomes too hot for them to be around all that heat.

JO said...

What a great place to wile away the day and just regroup. Any place with water falls or any water makes me all happy.

I would love to watch the glass making.

Nice get away you had.
Can't wait to see what new things you have created.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jo! yeah, I love water too; always have.