Gulf Park, AL

This is roughly the halfway point of my road trip. At this point Iíd done a week of hiking and Iíd finished up with IMSH in New Orleans. Iíd be visiting my friend in Atlanta after two days here on the gulf coast and then Iíd be hiking the east coast for another week. I use the word hiking here lightly because it wasnít anything like the first week on the road. Trips were shorter and easier. The only real difficulty was the bitter cold wind coming off the ocean as I traveled north. But thatís for another day Ė todayís post is about Gulf State Park in Alabama, where it was sunny and warm even in late January.

This is a trip that went almost perfectly according to plan. The only hitch was that Google initially told me to drive down a Powerline Rd, which is really no more than an access road for, yes, a power line. I found my way to the trailhead on Rt 161 and that allowed me access to the park.

When I found my way to the park I discovered the parking lot full of cars Ė most from states nowhere near Alabama! I was surprised by this and still donít understand the reason for it. I saw several benches dedicated to clubs in northern states. Could that have had something to do with it? In any case the trail was packed, relatively speaking. This is understandable regardless of the foreign cars because the weather was great and the trail was flat, short, and paved. It was also in the middle of a populated area. It doesnít get much more accessible than that. It wasnít a great trail for me, but it was a relaxing one and I appreciated the walk.

This trip was a short one. On the afternoon of my last day at the conference I left for Pensacola, FL and stopped here on the way. Itís one of only two afternoon hikes I made during this road trip because days were still short and I thought it more efficient to hike in the morning and drive in the afternoon. Still, this was a pleasant diversion. I only wish Iíd read the parkís website more carefully and gone to the pier after leaving the trails. Itís the longest fishing pier on the gulf at 1540 feet. Oh well Ė next time.


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