Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trip Report 2/18/17

Brian Dean and I are just back from a winter tour of the ‘gulfs’ of northeast Alabama. If you don’t know what a gulf is; it is a colloquial term for the deep canyons near the margins of the Cumberland Plateau where the erosion from a water course wears deep canyons.

Little River Canyon is one; there are many, many more and they are seldom visited.

And I am sure that is because they are surrounded by vertical rim-rock walls that that restrict access and when you manage to find a way in, they are incredibly difficult walking, today was all day at Town Creek Gulf on Sand Mountain and I am all worn out, as much so as any day ever on the Appalachian Trail!

Today we walked to a bluff-pillar-remnant that stands apart from the bluff proper and is one of the most unusual land-forms I have ever encountered and I have done a lot of walking.

In my youth it was accessible, even by bicycle and I visited it often; over the years it has become much less so -- -- gated houses on the bluff, hunting clubs restricting access and just generally a change in cultural norms about access to land. It used to be wide open and friendly and now it is closed and difficult.

You have to stop and ask; you can’t just go anymore.
I haven't been there in at least fifteen years, too difficult and too long a walk from points that are accessible. I wanted to go just one more time and I don’t imagine I’ll go again.

I’ve been pissed off at Alabama all weekend and at my country since November 8; the beer cans and trash discarded along the access trail, with the backwardness of Alabamians who tend to never walk anywhere and have a poor regard for aesthetics and protecting the environment with their pinched faces and defiant-obstinacy that creates so much lost human potential hereabouts.  

But I’m conflicted about that. Brian and I both noticed and commented about the sweetness and openness of all the people we met as we were pulling into driveways, knocking on door to ask permission and hailing good ole’ boys on four-wheelers to ask directions.

Everyone was open and courteous to a superlative degree and did not seem to notice or be offended by Brian’s shoulder length pigtail and by all superficial assumptions based on appearance and the disheartening statistics in this very red state, all or most of these people must have been Republicans and Trump voters.

Well what to make of that, well right off the top of my head what I make of it is that basically we are a cohesive and courteous society and the chances are pretty good that we are going to be able to live together and settle our differences, in time and without engaging in a shooting war!

Maybe that is the source of my optimism; all of my friends tell me that I seem very optimistic and it is true that I actually feel that way even as I say and feel that the reign of Trump is nothing less than a grave national emergency.

If you know me or have followed me on social-media, you know that I am very opinionated and disheartened by this national discrace and you also know that I am prone to go at Trumpster’s with invective and profanity and I don’t know that I’m going to stop!

Blame social media or put it on me as a character flaw, but like I said, I am very conflicted and offended by it and all I’m saying is that my observation is that most of the people who voted Trump are not as nasty as he is and that gives me hope!

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