There is no better way to end a fun hike than with a good dose of public humiliation. What you don’t believe me? No, it’s great for adjusting your humility scales. Seriously. As I learned Sunday afternoon.
My two friends had left a while earlier and Whiskey and I kept hiking. At the end we dipped into the water near the falls and Whiskey trotted in and out of the water across the rocks, wetting them in the process. I slipped and went down. I tried to correct it which made no difference- feet, knees, hands and face all did nothing to stop my 5’2 fall from glory. I bruised my clavicle and hurt my arms (I considered spending all day today with my right arm tucked up into my armpit like a deranged librarian tyrannosaurus rex, mostly because it’s the only comfortable non pain position my arm likes right now) but other than that it was definitely my pride that suffered most. Rocks are unforgiving creatures. I’m just glad I didn’t bust my teeth. I had the good sense to turn my face and lift my head at the last second which is my my clavicle caught the blow instead of my teeth!
So onto this pride issue. See there were about 7 or so people lurking about having a jolly old time at the falls. And apparently if you have a dog you revoke your privacy license. Anyone, anywhere, can stare at you as long as they’d like to. You have a dog! Look at that person with the dog! they say. Staring in such a way that they would never get away with were you not umbilically attached to good ole Spot over there. But somehow with the dog you become less than human and apparently on display for everyone’s entertainment. Usually this doesn’t bother me…but Sunday was a different matter. Especially once I was lying face first in the rock of all rocks.
So I think to myself maybe they didn’t see me and I chance a glance up. No. Everyone above 10 is looking at me. I turn my head back and I begin to have what I like to call gobbly-grem thoughts. Half goblin half gremlin, horribly inappropriate thoughts. Half dark, half mischief. Half underground, half in the machine. I never act on them, but they’re the thoughts that entertain me in times of stress or boredom. I lay face down half in the freezing water, dog attached to my left hand (I managed never to let go of the leash!)… what if I just…you know… keep laying here till they leave. Maybe they’ll just leave. Then I think no… they’ll come check on me eventually. I imagine a younger child toeing my side “is she dead?” and me popping up like a Jack in the Box “SURPRISE!” and flailing around snappy jazz hands. But in the end I find the strength to pull my pride to my knees, then my haunches, then feet. The older man asks me if I’m okay as I walk past (of course I have to go past them to get to the car…gah…) and I answer laughingly that “it looked alot worse than it felt.” At least physically, though I do have to say day two certainly hurts more than it did yesterday!
So let me tell you about the rest of the park.
Turkey Creek is a nice little park. There are two main trails: The Eagle Scout Trail, and an unnamed paved one that goes up into the woods. (If there was a name to that one I didn’t catch it).
One website said that dogs must be leashed at all times no matter what. However, on one of their kiosks a flier said that dogs and I am paraphrasing some of this… “Must be leashed at all times when around other people, groups or dogs.” That’s an interesting wording that to me kind of negates “at all times” when you qualify it as being only when around other people or dogs. It implies to me that dogs can be off leash when you are by your lonesome, and then just leash them when you see company coming.
Open 7-5 (winter hours) and gates close 30 minutes before closing! Wednesday – Sunday.
Home to three endangered species of fish: Rush Darter, Vermilion Darter, and Watercress Darter.
From Birmingham take 20/59 exit 128 (Tallapoosa Street) and head up hwy 79 through Tarrant towards Pinson. Look for the intersection of 79 and 151 where you will turn left at the light. Turn right into Turkey Creek. It will come up almost immediately on your right by the way so be ready to turn, and it is well marked with signage. Go past the house on your right further into the preserve and you will see parking all along the left and right at designated pull offs.
- There’s a lot of great plants and interpretive signs to tell you about the plants and history.
- Make sure to check out the kiosks as some have some great historical background info such as the site used to have a grist mill and iron forge on it and was used during the Civil War.
- There are lots of old road beds throughout the woods and what looks like small unnoficial side trails. I’m assuming you can off road it here as there was no “stay on designated trails only!” signs. There were however, lots of don’t drink and shoot guns signs which I thought was funny.
- This is a great swimming hole. Just walk all up and down the creek side and you’ll find lots of great places to dip in. Whiskey had a blast getting in the water and loved listening to the leaves scattering and digging after chipmunks on the trail after we were alone. You’ll find several places to swim, one with a rope swing. Just beware- they aren’t kidding about slick rocks.
- They have port-o-potties! I’m assuming they are always there and I’ve seen (and used) far worse.
- The only con I could think of is that if you are wanting an extensive strenuous hike, this isn’t it. Though if you go off trail I bet you could get your workouts worth exploring the hills.
Please check out their site for hours as they do change seasonally. Facebook seemed to be the best place to find them.
Southern Environmental Center’s information on Turkey Creek.
You Tube video from Taylor Steele, Manager of Turkey Creek Preserve.
Fresh Water Land Trust
Overall Score: 8 wags out of 10! Great for a relaxing, light hike, picnic lunch, and swim!