How many of you have been to Cheaha? Just about an hour and a half outside of Birmingham it’s an ideal spot to “get away” without having to wonder how you’ll pay for it. Personally, I think a day trip is easily done since it’s just a short distance drive from the Ham.
I’m always so shocked by how few people I know have been there. For shame. You all should really go! No, I’m not getting paid by the park service lol! But I do love it. We go every year and it’s a welcome retreat for me. It used to be the time that I would sort through my poetry and decide where I would submit what during the next year, or I would just write. Now with the dog I just hang out. It was the most peaceful relaxing trip I’ve had in a long time.
My mom, saint that she is, booked the family a dog friendly chalet and we loaded up the dog (no easy task) and took off Friday night for a night away. The rest of the family got there Saturday about lunch. The hubs headed back first thing Saturday and I did the same on Sunday. After all we are trying to get our house ready to sell so even one night way was a luxury in time we could hardly afford to spend.
Here’s my tips for Cheaha. And I’ve been going every year for the last um…. maybe… 24 years. So, first, if you are not much of a camper get a cabin or chalet so you can cook. Because it’s quite a drive off the mountain and a waste of your time. Plus their restaurant is yearly one of the worst places I’ve ever eaten. Which is a shame because the view is amazing. You must eat there at least once. Breakfast is the most harmless meal. Plan to spend a long leisurely meal there taking in the spectacular view. Just be prepared to go home kinda hungry and have to eat again. Will Frank Stitt (or similar amazing person) please for the love of all that is holy take over this restaurant so its view can finally match its cuisine? Really, you’ll see what I mean when you get there. Short of eating at one of the few restaurants with beach side deck service in Gulf Shores this is hands down the best view in the state. But you don’t have to eat there to see the view. You can walk out on the patio behind the restaurant and admire the view.
Other tips: Drive around slowly or walk around the loop slowly at dusk and dawn because that’s when you’re going to see the deer crossing right before or after the campgrounds. Because there is no hunting there you often have to stop your car because several of them are blocking the road!! Awesomeness. Whiskey went nuts when he saw them and smelled them. Talk about crazy leash manners at that point! He could have drug me forever if I’d let him!
At least once in your life you should hike down the Lake Trail. I’ve done it several times and then started refusing to join in. First because often I had to hike back up. A nearly impossible feat once you’ve reached the bottom and are exhausted. And second I stopped because I’d done it so many times I was like “great, yeah, it’s hard. I don’t have anything to prove by doing it every year.” My brother, ever the in shape fitness pro he is does it almost every year (alone now I might add!).
Lastly, go bouldering. There are all types of rocks so you can progress at your own pace but this is a fantastic place to just wander off in the woods and go bouldering. Whiskey even got in on the action, but I’ll tell you about that later!
So I’m going to blog about a few of the trails we did in the next two blogs. But for tonight, here’s another pictures of Whiskey chilling on the deck.
We had to secure him to the railing with a 30 foot lead but he could still go all over the deck and up and down the steps. He loved it. In fact, for one of the only times in the entire time we’ve had him he woke me up, whining asking to be let out. Not to pee, but to hang out on the deck. The little stinker. He whined a lot to be let outside while we were there. This place was definitely a ten tail wag experience for Whiskey!
The highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet. Part of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Allegedly the local Creek Indians named this place “Chaha,” meaning high place.
Their website: http://www.alapark.com/cheaharesort/
Find them on Facebook
Dog friendly lodgings: If you prefer to stay indoors they have 1 cabin and 3 chalets. This link will take you to the dog info provided on their website. There is no weight limit. You will need to bring your own crate and they must be crated while you are out of the cabin/chalets.
They have a lake and pool.
They have 3 main trails on the top of the moutain: Pulpit Rock, Rock Garden, and Bald Rock. There are LOTS of trails all over the rest of the mountain that we’ll have to go back and blog about another post after another trip. The next posts will talk about these three trails and give you a run down of the trails.
Review of our Chalet’s dog friendliness: Great. The leather couches are easy to keep clean of fur and the places were so clean and equipped with a broom so it was easy to leave them as no dog had been there. There was nothing dangerous there for me to worry about (we’ve stayed in a place before that had left mothballs on the floor!! And it was supposed to be dog friendly! So I always do a “sweep” now of dangerous “nodoggieno” items.) I would not hesitate at all to book again at their dog friendly lodgings. Loved it!!!
Rating: 10 ecstatic ‘when can we go back’ tail wags!