Showing posts from November, 2016

Coldwater River Nature Trails

Below Arkabutla Dam are a series of trails through the mostly bottomland hardwood forest along the Coldwater River developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Much of these trails overlap, and they form 1, 2, 3, and 5-mile loops.

Hiking counterclockwise, the trails begin by the Arkabutla Dam outlet and follow a drainage ditch before soon arriving at a "beaver pond" (I saw no evidence of any beaver activity). The trail continues along the drainage ditch until crossing state highway 301. The five-mile loop continues up a small hill before returning back down and joining the three-mile loop.

After crossing a small bridge, the trail continues on what looks likes a small stagnant stream before returning the the trailhead. On a cool, but very nice morning on November 20, 2016, most of the trees still had leaves, and some had just begun to change color.

See my track here on All Trails or more photos here.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Witch Dance Horse Trail

The Witch Dance Horse Trail is a series of interconnected trails amounting to 18 miles through Tombigbee National Forest in Mississippi. The trail network can be hiked in a series of loops, but aside from a photograph of a poor map on All Trails, I couldn't find any actual map of the trails.

I began my hike at the Witch Dance trailhead along the Natchez Trace Parkway and started hiking on a clockwise loop that lasted for over 2.5 hours and 9.0 miles. The trail was very poorly marked with red and blue plastic plates nailed to trees at various points on the trail. There were numerous intersections that split into as many as five different directions with no descriptive signage. I therefore relied on Google Maps and my original location to keep track of where I was and where I had to go back to.

For the most part, I stuck with the strategy of staying to the left whenever I arrived at an intersection. About four miles into the hike I reached an intersection that I turned right on and…

Sipsey Wilderness

On November 5, 2016 I went on a loop hike of about 9 miles through the Sipsey Wilderness in Alabama. This wilderness is part of William B. Bankhead National Forest, was the first wilderness in the eastern U.S., and is still the largest in area east of the Mississippi River.

I began the hike at the Randolph Trailhead and followed trail 202 for 3.4 miles until it reached trail 209 (see a map here). Trail 202 followed what was once a small road along the hill tops before descending into the valley along the Sipsey River. As the trail descends into the valley is passes some eastern hemlock trees, which are found here at the extreme southern extent of their distribution. As the trail continues down into the valley, it passes what would be a fairly high waterfall, but because of the severe drought encompassing the region, this waterfall and many of the streams in the wilderness were completely dry.

The drought made crossing the Sipsey River easy, requiring hopping across only a few rocks. …