Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Conecuh Trail North Loop Trailhead to Mossy Pond

Hike: Conecuh Trail North Loop Trailhead to Mossy Pond, Sat., 03/20/2010, 08:00-12:40
Distance: 8.6 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate (due to distance)
Elevation at T/H: 275' by GPS   Moving Avg Velocity: 2.8 mph
Conditions: Gorgeous sunrise over Open Pond preceded my hike.  Enjoyed my quite time with GOD by the lakeshore and then drove to the Trailhead off AL-137.  Mild temps warming up to the low 70's by afternoon.  Copious sunshine.  Calm wind becoming steady but light by late morning.  Trail flooded in some spots, deeply in one spot.  Had to divert to Forest Service Road to circumvent one flooded area. Was VERY GLAD I wore my Gore-tex hiking boots today!
Absolutely wonderful morning hike.  Thank YOU, LORD, for this place and this time.  The mist shrouded Longleaf Pine Forest was almost surreal as I hiked from the trail head toward my goal of Mossy Pond.  (Note: The US Forest Service sign says 3 miles to Mossy Pond - don't you believe it!)  Along the way I was treated to birdsong from numerous passarines, secret displays by woodland wildflowers, the whispers of the wind in the longleaf pine tops, the occassional slap of a turtle entering the water, vocalizations from a disturbed duck or woodpecker, and the peace and grandeur of the south Alabama Longleaf Pine Forest and Gulf Coastal Lowlands.

If I had to sum up this hike in one word it would be: Peaceful.  Throughout the time on trail I had an overriding sense of peace and tranquility.  There was nothing here spectacular such as you would find at Sequoia National Park.  There were no deep gorges exposing ancient history and color.  No majestic mountains to climb.  No cascading waterfalls or frolicking rapids.  Here there was the mist shrouded Longleaf pines with their straight towering trunks and familiar needled-crowns, open and welcoming.  This is a special place and I felt at home here.

Arriving at Mossy Pond (finally after having to divert onto a FS Road for a bit to get around a flooded area) at 10:44, I had the sense of "oh yeah, this is the place".  I would call it a secret refuge, but since the trail comes by and the Forest Service has built a nice sheltered picnic table by the water's edge, I guess at least a few other people know about it!  But I did have complete solitude during my visit today.  I took time to sit down, eat my lunch, meditate, journal, and drink in the beauty and tranquility of this gem.  I am so glad I did not give up on this goal when the trail became flooded.  This prize was worth the extra effort of finding another way in!  What a wonderful place.  Thank YOU for sharing it with me LORD.

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