Secret Vistas

Contemplating Hunger and Nature in the Jefferson National Forest

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Secret Vistas By Glynn Wilson MARION, Va. – Listening to a babbling brook and watching the snow flakes gently fall in one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful acts, I am pondering the legend of the hungry mother who inspired the name of this place along the Hungry Mother Creek. As the story goes, back during…

Clay County Search and Rescue Squad Comes Through for Lost Hikers

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Secret Vistas – By Glynn Wilson – TALLADEGA NATIONAL FOREST, Ala. — The night was quiet and still except for the owls hooting and the coyotes howling off in the distance when we let the fire burn down in the Turnipseed Campground and climbed into bed Sunday evening after hiking to Cheaha Falls during the…

Secret Vistas: Waking Up on Lake Lurleen

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By Glynn Wilson – LAKE LURLEEN, Ala. – Jefferson and I woke up camped along Lake Lurleen in the State Park named after Alabama’s only female governor, Lurleen Burns-Wallace, and I snapped these photos with the new iPhone early in the morning as the dog took a swim. Unfortunately, this state park has yet to…

Camp Autauga Creek: Assault on Montgomery Round Two, 2013

By Glynn Wilson – CAMP AUTAUGA CREEK, Ala. — Jefferson and I are settled into a new campsite just northwest of Montgomery. You can smell the corruption in the air, literarily, from International Paper’s mill not far from here. It’s right by a train track too. A coal train came by this afternoon. I grabbed…

Photo Gallery: Talladega National Forest

Fall Moon by Lake Cheaha

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a view from atop Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level. If a plan goes forward to lease virtually all of the land in this view to a mining company like Halliburton for natural gas drilling, this public land set aside for future generations to…

Reflections 1: Autumn Leaves in Chinnabee Creek

Click here or on the image for a larger view – By Glynn Wilson – Secret Vistas – LAKE CHINNABEE CAMPGROUND, Ala. — The day before Thanksgiving photographer Kenny Walters and I packed up our gear and headed northeast from Birmingham to camp one more time in the Talladega National Forest before we have to…

Maiden Voyage of the Roadship Washington

A Lake Coleman campsite, just a short walk through the forest to the lake Secret Vistas by Glynn Wilson When the summer heat begins to fade away, the days grow shorter and the leaves start falling from the trees and changing colors, I don’t know about you but it’s hard to resist packing up the…

Van Camping Along Highway 64 in the Birthplace of Conservation

Glynn Wilson A mountain meadow along the Davidson River during the spring blooming season. (Click on the images for a larger view. More photos and videos below.) Secret Vistas by Glynn Wilson ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 25 — Sitting in a camp chair in front of the computer by the French Broad River, one of those…

Attacking the Montgomery Problem From Camp Gunter Hill

Glynn Wilson An armadillo, all the way from Texas, paid us a visit at the campsite Secret Vistas by Glynn Wilson CAMP GUNTER HILL, Ala., March 9 — You know, when I published the first column in this space nearly seven years ago in Takoma Park, Maryland, I never thought I would find myself back…

Four Days and Nights Camping by Lake Chinnabee

Glynn Wilson An autumn view of the Lake Chinnabee campground with no one around (click on the image for a larger view) Secret Vistas by Glynn Wilson LAKE CHINNABEE, Ala. — It drizzled rain in the dark all the way from the Oxford, Alabama exit off Interstate 20 through Munford on Highway 21, making it…

Secret Vistas: A Video of Cheaha State Park

It is a ridiculously easy day trip from Birmingham and points to the northeast to visit Cheaha State Park, located at 2407 feet above sea level, Alabama’s highest point in the Appalachian Mountains. The resort now has an arrowhead museum, which we feature in this video along with the view from the back deck at…

Secret Vistas: A Red-Bellied Woodpecker in Cheaha State Park

Glynn Wilson Click here or on the image for a larger view This red-bellied woodpecker [melanerpes carolinus], close cousin to the northern flicker, also known as the yellow-hammer, the state bird of Alabama, stopped by for a meal atop a pine tree by our campsite Saturday afternoon in Cheaha State Park in the lower Campground…

Secret Vistas: A View of Cheaha Mountain from Campground No. 2

Glynn Wilson This is the view of Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama, in the Cheaha State Park from our campsite in Campground No. 2. There are the beginnings of autumn color here, mainly some reds in the dogwoods. The winds were gusting so hard this morning there was no way to put the…