When I hike I like privacy. If I am going to put the pack on and go out in the wilderness I am not looking for socialization. I am seeking solitude. I takes a couple days of solitude to wipe off the trappings of the techno world. After that it is quiet reflection. I live for that quiet reflection. I gave up the Appalachian trail after it seemed to become a backpacker’s super highway.
There is a trail only a couple hours away from my home that offers both solitude and great backpacking. The Pinhoti Trail is a 240 mile trail stretching Alabama’s Appalachian Mountains into Northwest Georgia. Many backpackers think of it as an extension of the Appalachian trail since it ends at Springer Mountain where the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye begin.
The Pinhoti begins on the highest peak in Alabama, medicine up on Cheaha Mountain, in the Talladega National forest. Pinhoti is creek and translates to “turkey home”. There are a lot of Turkeys on the trail. But rarely do you see people. I have hiked over 20 miles a day on the Pinhoti without ever seeing a single sole. Breaking trail early in the morning is a great time to start. Early morning gives the hiker amazing views of blue morning fog lofting off huge bluffs. The easy to see blue blazes, mostly painted on trees, make the trail a pleasure to hike.
In the Talladega forest water is not an issue. It is easy to find. After leaving the forest water can become an issue till getting into Georgia and closer to Springer mountain. Water can scarce and hard to find, especially in the middle of summer. I have brought an extra tarp, in summer, that I can use to collect rain water when a storm brews up.
I have seen a few rattlesnakes so be cautious. In the spring and fall they like to lay on the hot rocks warmed by the sun. There will be plenty of deer, turtles, squirrels armadillos, birds, and of course Turkeys, to see.
As with most Appalachian hiking there is a lot of up hill and down hill climbing. I would recommend purchasing maps before you go. A full set is around $25.00. Maps are easy to get and essential to planning any backpacking trip.
Always, take only pictures and leave only footprints.
That is all I have for now, One Arm Don