The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Our trip to Mt. Cheaha... what an adventure!!!

Well, I have teased you about it... now, it's time for the whole story. It all starts on Sunday afternoon, while bf and I are headed to Mt. Cheaha (Cheaha State Park) in Alabama, which is about an hour east of Birmingham (give or take). We were almost there when my cell comes alive with text messages from Mikey and Rick, who are warning me about the severe thunderstorm watch for the area we are headed, with cells starting to fire up about 40 miles to our west. I seriously got text after text about the approaching storm, which is terrific and well timed... since they arrived just before we headed to the top of the mountain where our cell phone reception became patchy at best, and that is a serious over-statement. We stopped a couple of times at scenic overlooks, really soaking up the hazy moutainscape before us, a truly fine sight... picked some blackberries, which were yummy, but left abruptly when I was suddenly over-taken by evil bed of fire-ants, which began chomping, unthinkable.

Well, as soon as we arrived, we hiked out to Pulpit Rock, which was an amazing tower of rocks on the edge of the mountain, with an approximate 100 foot direct drop and maybe a 1000 ft slope down to the bottom, atop this 2400ft highest point in Alabama. It was awesome!!! What made it more awesome was the incredible storm approaching. PHENOMENAL!!! I actually crawled out to the rock (slightly afraid of heights, especially when significant outflow winds are bearing down... just didn't seem like a good combination), and we watched that storm... here are a few shots from that. I HAVE TONS OF SHOTS, so I'll just pick out my favorites... We were actually IN the clouds... talk about being in "Cloud 9"!! We were even treated to a beautiful almost-sunset between storms... which was absolutely breath-taking! Can you tell I enjoyed that part of the trip...? :O) Well, one of the storms got a little too close and was popping CG (I wasn't able to capture any shots of that), and we were out on a trail on top of a mountain on a ledge... and the sun was almost set... so we decided to head back to the vehicle, deciding to be cautious. It was hard to leave it all, but we needed light to make it back on the trail. Headed to our next stop, a family of deer crossed our path... most of the daylight was gone by this point, so pardon the blur...
We got checked into our semi-primitive camp-site, where we HAD prepared to cook a steak dinner... but that wasn't going to work with the amount of wind from the approaching thunderstorm... so we had to head down into town (Oxford/Anniston) for some IHOP... It made for a terrific breakfast (tender delmonico steak flame broiled over a fire pit, camp-side... sweet potatoes and roasted onion baked in the flames and bagels--the intended breakfast), and we actually had a guest for breakfast!! :O) Cute and photogenic little guy...
After the very filling and protein-filled breakfast, we headed to the amazingly picturesque High Falls, just outside of Cheaha State Park... It wasn't too bad of a 1/2 mile hike for the amazing view we got of that 3 tiered falls. Of course, I had to photograph all the flowers and other cool stuff along the way. I didn't know it at the time, but that first one has a snail at right center... cool.
When Alabama Mike arrived with two of his sons, we met him at Bald Rock and headed over to the Rock Garden trail where bf knew of a great spot to learn how to rappel, about 15-20ft above the surface below. Bf got me set up, and after a nervous, heavily-tensioned rappel, I got the swing of things. Here are those shots... (thanks, Mike for capturing my moment!!)... and I apparently made it look exciting and fun because Mike actually took a stab at it. Way to go, Mike!!!

Mike's boys were not willing to give it a try and were a little antsy to go fishing, so we parted ways to await bf's friend's arrival at the park. We hung out talking on the patio of our quaint cabin, past the gorgeous sunset into the wee hours of the night...
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end... We left Tuesday morning and headed home, before we arrived home, were surprised to stumble upon a very territorial rooster farm, lots of cock-a-doodle-dooing going on there... and a brief glance at some of the residual storm damage in Macon after the Mothers' Day tornado outbreak this year. Just along the interstate, there were homes with the tell-tale blue tarp roof. In the notorious words of Porky Pig, yeebity yeebity, that's all folks! What an AWESOME mini-vacation!

Of course, while on my mini-vacation, I missed our first named storm of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur, which drenched Belize. The tropical storm formed very close to Belize, actually one day before the season start date, being named on Saturday, May 31. The moutainous Yucatan peninsula made short work of that storm. I also missed yet another tornado outbreak... 20 reports (MN, MO, IN, IL, and OH) on Friday, 6 (MD, WV, VA (no Mikey didn't catch any... but he was out), and OK)on Saturday, 2 (WY and NE) on Sunday, 4 (MO and WY) on Monday and 16 (IL, IN, OH and MO) on Tuesday. Looks like a lot more destruction, many, many homes destroyed and many injured. I have, thankfully, not heard of any fatalities. Amazing... another 48 reports.The chart above continues to amaze me... the number now for tornado reports is at 1,286, as of yesterday... but there are two areas of moderate risk of severe weather for today, including over in Mikey's neck of the woods. Be safe, Mikey.

Good night,


  1. Very cool! Glad ya'll made it home safely, and from the sounds and sights, had a wunnerful time. :D

    Looking at the pics of you rapeling - uhm.. is that a tree you are attached to, just a tree? I'd be saying... Breathe Christine, Breathe! ;)

  2. Wow! That's a lot of fun out there Dew... :) I love to have a trip like this soon... Although I'm a little afraid of heights... I don't know if I could climb that Pulpit Rock... Thanks for sharing the pics... And oh, the flowers are gorgeous...

  3. Holy spectacular! These are crazy super!! I can't get over how wonderful these views are! I really got to stop using exclamation marks!
    LOL. It's obvious you really had a great time and your pictures show it. Your closeups on the flowers are pretty. You two are quite the characters when out and about hey? LOL... Great post.

  4. Thank you very much! Very nice to hear! :D
    I absolutely love your pics. They are fantastic and makes me want to take up climbing! Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Urban Buddha, You should do it. I HIGHLY recommend it!!! Thanks!

  6. And it was GREAT meeting you too!

  7. Awesome update Dew! Looks like an awesome trip. Looks like storms are firing way north of here, maybe a chance for some lightning tonight.


  8. It was truly TERRIFIC, Mike! We will be up again, I am sure.

    Mikey, Thanks. It was complete awesomeness. Hope you catch something.

  9. Well i think you all had a good time, but i must say my stomache reached my throat when i saw the rock No way would you catch me there.
    all are great shots

  10. Wow, you really are becoming adventurous! I can't believe you went all dangling out there on a rope! My favorite shot is the one where bf is standing out on that rock. That looks like he just landed on top of the rock and is stranded there.

  11. Oh yes, and if I am not mistaken, when you see roosters housed in that way, they are generally used for cock fighting. No farm needs more than one rooster because they will fight each other for the hens and the territory. They aren't terrific for eating, and they don't lay it stands to reason that many of them aren't being kept without some sort of profit being made. Sad and despicable, but unfortunately true. (Sorry the Humane Society person inside of me had a strong reaction to that picture.)

  12. Sweet Home Alabama! You went to my old stomping grounds. I am jealous!
    You see now why I love going back home. Glad you got to see my neck of the woods, but no hanging on ropes for me! ;-P

  13. What an adventure you have had... loved the high rocks....
    Glad to be back commenting .. catch up with you soon.. hope you got a good Sky Watch lined up...


  14. Apparently, something happened to my earlier response to Christine, Ice and Michele... blogger has been doing odd things, but...

    Christine, We had a wunnerfully marvelous time! It was terrific! It was JUST a tree, and to add to your reaction, it wasn't tied off, just wrapped around it a couple of times. I did have to remind myself to breathe.

    Ice, We had a blast! You should definitely take a trip like this, what better way to overcome your fears?! lol Pulpit rock was tough... I have to admit. My legs were jello. Oh, and thanks!

    Michele, I don't mind your exclamation marks, exclaim away!!!!!! I am glad you were able to pick up on what a fantabulous time we had out there. We have lots of fun out there, tremendous fun. Always smiling, always enjoying life and the world around us, it's AWESOME!

    Lilli, My stomach was up in my throat, too. I was shaking like a leaf, but I am so glad to have conquered my fears and did it anyway, gives me a powerful feeling of accomplishment.

    Annie, Becoming? How long have you known me? You can't believe I would do that? I loved it! LOVED IT! I love doing new and exciting things, testing my limits... grabbing life by the horns and holding on for dear life... speaking of that, next on my list... mechanical bull. Bf does look stranded there, doesn't he? I need to send you a link to all the pics. As for the rooster farm, it does appear that the only useful reason for having so many is if they are being raised for cock fighting, so sad. There were kids out on the porch of the single-wide mobile home next to the field of roosters, and they seemed to be eyeing me while I snapped my shots. After doing some research, I found that it was determined in one court in Ohio that 5 roosters was a reasonable number to keep for propagation, if kept for legitimate and legal reasons, and beyond that, they become a private noise nuisance.

    Rick, It was certainly beautiful. What, no ropes? It was fun.

    Tom, I am working on ideas. I have a meeting tomorrow, so I will have to post mine today... Usually, I just see what inspires me. :O)

  15. I am so jelous! What an adventure! Your pictures made me feel like i was there with you! I am so happy for you! You go girl!!!!

  16. Awesome trip and great, great photos.
    Thanks for being the tour guide.

    I noticed on a comment somewhere that you like sunsets that look like a fireball.

    Martha shot these photos.

    Be sure to look at the bottom of the second photo.


  17. Jess, Glad you could "come along with us" even if vicariously. You should join us one day. Bf has all the equipment. It is great fun!!!

    Troy, Glad to be your tour guide. I very much like sunsets that look like fireballs. Thanks for sharing Martha's shots EXCELLENT!!! I noticed a tornado watch extending into Texas... what part of Texas are you in again?

  18. I now have a great visual of when they say - "DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS!" - Looks like it was a good time had by all.


  19. Wonderful photos! That vista kinda reminds me of the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. :)

  20. Gusto! The deer were a little nervous. It was definitely clear what is meant by that expression. They stood there... almost waiting for me to take their picture.

    Beth, Thanks!!! I will have to go there, because I absolutely loved this trip.


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