View Full Version : Pinhoti, 2000

SGT Rock
2003-01-15, 01:04
There I was...

2000, February, The Pinhoti Trail Alabama. It was a winter hiking trip on Alabama's longest trail. I was between assignments, leaving Fort Knox and going to Fort Polk. My wife (dixicritter) had decided I could go hiking so I chose the longest one I could find close, and went.

Since no one else wanted to go, and it was a cold winter in Alabama, I figured it would be a lonely trail. I also figured since it would be lonely, it would also be a good time to take my dog hiking and train her for trail living. She seemed to prefer the idea to being stuck in a fenced in yard for two weeks.

So for the next 10 days I followed her (the dog, not my wife) up and down these Alabama trails. She got pretty good at hiking, but her biggest problem was staying on the trail. Normally a trail like the AT is well marked and you can pretty much tell if you stray off the trail, but the Pinhoti has this philosophy in sections to not have a trail, just a general direction of travel and forget any markings, add to this the fact that it was winter, so there was absolutly no vegitation, so the places where there wasn't trail often looked like places where there was trail - no undergrowth and a bed of thick brown leaves.

On about the 7th day I was walking along the side of Cheeha mountain, following the dog as she went with nose down and tail up like normal along the trail. This was before a lot of my light gear, and it was witer so I had a lot of weight. I was looking down at my feet and the dog trudging over rocks and such, following what I thought was the trail, except it was going more down than I remember reading on the map. After about 30 minutes of this I finally stopped and did a map check - I then discovered I was way off any trail on the map, and that the trail was at least a mile back up the mountain. Since I hadn't followed a real trail down to that point, going back up was not only difficult because of the climb, but I was never completely sure my orientation was right and I was going the best route back. About an hour later I finally gained the trail at about the same spot I must have left it.

F***in' dog.

2003-01-15, 01:09
I told you not to follow the dog, she can't read a map you silly.


Wander Yonder
2003-01-15, 01:52
ROFL! Sounds like a GREAT hike! :D

I haven't done extensive hiking on the Pinhoti because I am not good with a map and compass. That is one of my new years' resolutions!

Here are some photos taken near the Shoal Creek area (on the Alabama Pinhoti) where I dragged hubby out for an overnighter last year. I love this area!!!!!

The night we stayed at the shelter we had one of the worst thunderstorms I've been in for a while. It POURED all night and that nice little creek turned into a raging, rising torrent. I couldn't wait for morning to get out as I was afraid we would be trapped, but since that was the low point on that part of the trail, we got out fine.

As soon as I figure out how to attach images instead of just posting links, I will come back and edit my picture links.

Coming up on the Shoal Creek Shelter (http://www.griffinwebart.com/bimages2/lower_sc_shelter2.jpg)

Shoal Creek (http://www.griffinwebart.com/bimages2/shoal_creek2.jpg)

Rock in the trail (http://www.griffinwebart.com/bimages2/rocks.jpg)
Note how the trail goes around the right of the rock with a steep dropoff

2003-02-07, 19:05
Great stories guys. I guess I'll have to tell you how I got tagged with the moniker "Grizzly Bear. In the early '90s, I was living on the Salish-Kootani Reservation, in NW Montana. I had just bought a new 7' fly rod (my first graphite), and was fishing at McDonald Lake, A small glacier-fed lake, full of wild trout, on the Mission Range not too far from Arlee. I had met the Indian Ranger, on the way up to the lake, and he told me not to get on the narrow strip of land between the cliffs and the lake - that some renegades had shot some sheep off the cliff, and that the grizzleys were picnicking on the carcasses. So - I parked my pick-up at the end of the strip, and decided that it would be a barrier against my wandering into the no-zone, while Mezmerized by fish. The sky was getting dark, from an approaching Rockey Mtn. thunderstorm, so I was casting frantically, trying to get that one more trout, when I realized that there was a definite smell of skunk and rotted flesh in the air. As an Easterner, I had been early-warned that Grizzlys smell like skunk - and worse when they've been feasting and rolling in carrion. I looked up, and realized that I had fished well past my truck, and was about a hundred yards up the narrow spit of land - and - there was a half-growed Grizzly, standing straight up, between me and the truck.

There was a deformed tree growing/leaning out from the base of the cliff, about ten yards behing me - and a bear, much taller than me in the path to my truck. I chose the tree. Now, we all know that grizzlys can't climb trees - right? Well nobody had bothered to tell this young witch about that. I had made it to a limb about 14 feet up from the ground,(fly rod and all - I wasn't about to lose that rod, and I had a fish on, when I headed for the tree!), and this young she-bear was on her way up right behind me. The only thing I had that even resembled a weapon, was a 3-ounce, graphite flyrod, so I started poking her in the face with it, screaming at her, and trying my best not to pee in my waders.

I had just rammed the rod tip in her mouth, when the rain started. If you've ever been in a Montana summer storm, you know that the rain doesn't come down in drops - it falls in one huge chunk. At the same time the "chunk" hit the tree, lightening hit the cliff somewhere above me, with the most tremendous clap of thunder I've ever heard, and pieces of granite came pelting down with the river of rain. The bear, must have thought I was the God-of-bad-things even for Grizzlys, and she high-tailed it down the beach. She didn't bother going around the truck. She went straight over the hood, and disappeared into the choke-cherry brush, but not before she had bitten the end off my new graphite rod. I didn't wait for her to realize that "I" hadn't been making all the noise, and dropping the rocks on her, but dropped from the tree, and did a record hundred-twenty-yard dash to the truck. I began winding-in my line, which was still in the water, and couldn't believe it. I had a nice trout on, and my rod-tip was now in his mouth, rather than the bear's.

From that day on, my Montana friends called me Grizzly Bear. I still have the rod. It's now a six-footer. I've retired it, and now build my own rods. I ate the trout for dinner that night, (probably should have had it mounted, with the rod-tip sticking out of it's mouth). For some reason, I never fished McDonald Lake, after that, and I started packing a .44 Magnum, whenever I fished the east side of the reservation mountains. Those muthas is big!

SGT Rock
2003-02-08, 10:45
MAybe she recognized you as another bear and was in love.:eek: