A week or so ago I did a midweek hike solo at Ruffner (well, solo except the dog).
I’ve decided to name the place we went as “gunslinger alley” because of all the constant gunshots you hear. There just has to be a gun range somewhere near by. In fact, a google search revealed there is a “Gun Club Road” in Irondale, parallel from the trail we were hiking. Well, you can’t get any more clear than that. I’m still not 100% certain that the “Southern Skeet and Trap Club” is our culprit for the naming of Gunslinger Alley, but still, it’s a definite contender!
I wandered down the trail thinking what a fine trail it is. Excellent for mountain biking, or hiking for people with small children because it has a wide open space of a trail that is kept clear (ostensibly for the gas company that has lines all up and down its length?).
I only went as far as the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserves well marked border which exists as a bright yellow gate that is easily passed over or under (sans bike) by the enthusiastic hiker not bothered by such signs and details like “property lines” pshaw!
I’m assuming the land is freebee land (anyone got a better more accurate word) since it belongs to and is maintained by the gas company who owns it. I spent the weekend exploring the rest of this trail and plan to blog about it later in the week.
Right beyond the fence is a tall hill with lots of little rocks. Whiskey was eager to go up it, but to the left of the gate there is a road that goes up to a house and suburban area. There were dogs barking so we hightailed it back. Next time furry buddy.
Until that post is up here are some pictures to satisfy your curiosity. Definitely not a frequently traveled trail as I have yet to meet anyone on it (they are always headed the other way to Wetlands or the new trail Lizard Loop). Oh, and about Lizard Loop- I’ve hiked this one before but without the new name thats been bestowed it by Ruffner so I promise to go back and hike it and rewrite it now that it’s properly baptized.
Worst picture of the day (due to camera being broken with no way to “see” what you are taking pictures of) goes to this one- which doesn’t look so bad really except it in NO Way captures how incredibly steep this little hill was. Worn down by years of mudriding vehicles it was also very muddy and slick to boot. Whiskey has been learning “with me” on steep hills to indicate he should not kill me by dragging me down hills, and instead politely watch my feet and body to make sure we make it to the bottom alive and stay directly by my side. He’s been doing amazingly well!! Can’t wait to put this to use at Cheaha in a few months on serious mountains (well, for Alabama).
Score: 4 out of 5 happy tail wags due to wide open trail with lots of animal droppings and crossings for happy dogs to smell (but hopefully not roll in) and nice typical Alabama forests surrounding you on the big wide trail to gaze aimlessly about at while strolling. It’s a plus that it’s flat if you’re not in the mood for serious hiking!
Directions: See my old post about Ruffner’s back parking lot to directly access wetlands. Near the bottom there are detailed directions on how to get there.