Monday, August 15, 2016

Discovering Red Mountain Park

Barley, Soth, and I packed our bags and headed south to help my dad celebrate his birthday recently. 

My brother is the lone Braves fan on our row.
While most of the festivities weren't dog friendly--like a sad Pirates-Braves game at Turner Field--my dad decided to take a day off for a pre-birthday hike. My favorite hikes are the ones in the middle of the week because normal people are at work, so I have fewer distractions to worry about with Barley.

We loaded Barley, my dog sister Maz, and my dog nephew Maddux into my parent's car and headed to Birmingham to check out Red Mountain Park. I'd first heard about this park when they stuck a park map in my shopping bag at the Merrell outlet a couple years ago. Mom, Maz, and I had almost checked it out last summer, but chose Moss Rock Preserve instead.

Maz is ready for adventure!
I was a little worried for several reasons: it was exactly one year from the Moss Rock adventure where Barley stepped on a copperhead (TWICE), Alabama in August is HOT and we didn't get an early start, we had three dogs of different hiking abilities going on the adventure.

But Barley had been walking in warm Alabama weather for a week already, so she was a little conditioned to that. My mom also made some minor adjustments to some instructions we found for making our own cooling collars and made each dog one. I decided I would avoid looking at the scenery and just scan for snakes.

Barley quickly made a new friend on our hike. I'm not entirely sure why this guy (is it an orangutang?) was in the park, but we never pass up a chance to pose with a sculpture.

We started out the hike walking solo and occasionally looping back to check in with the other dogs. Then my dad and sister dog Maz forged ahead with us while my mom, sister, and nephew (the oldest of the bunch) walked at their own pace. 

Once my dad and I made it to the old iron ore mine shaft, my mom called us to see if we would reconnect since my sister and Maddux decided to hang out in the dog park instead of continuing on the trails.

Barley was not as happy as she looks to leave the shade to pose for a picture.

After reconnecting with Mom, we went on a mission to find the goats they have in the park to eat kudzu and other things that need to be cleared out. We found their enclosure and saw one goat way in the distance, but I was disappointed we didn't get to see a bunch of them munching away.

They also had some tree houses throughout the park. By turning our hike into a loop instead of just an out and back, we could see one of them, so of course, I insisted we do that. Unfortunately, I'm too much of a chicken to try the swinging rope bridge over to the lookout platform--I thought that maybe I could do it if my parents held Barley, but I put one foot on the bridge and immediately turned back around. So I held the dogs and my parents went to check out the view.

We still got to see some nice views from other areas along the trail without having to test my fear of heights.

Despite all of my worries, we were able to survive a trail labeled "most difficult" on our way back to reunite with my sister and nephew dog.

We never even saw a snake (although some bikers did warn us that there was one scurrying across the trail ahead of us at once point). 

It was a dreadfully warm day, but we took our time, took plenty of water breaks in the shade, and ended up getting in 3.89 miles by the time we got back to the car. Barley and I loved getting a break from the neighborhood walks even if we were sweaty, panting messes by the time it was over.


  1. That sounds like a very good hike, and no snakes is definitely a bonus! I'm also glad you got to see some nice views without having to go on the swinging footbridge - I would have passed on that too!
    Jan, Wag n Woof Pets

    1. Yes! No snakes was the very best part, I think. When I finished getting ready and was checking Facebook and it popped up with "1 year ago today" and it was the copperhead adventure, I seriously considered unpacking our bag and going back to bed.

  2. Glad you guys had fun! Wish Maddux was feeling up to more of a hike!

    1. I know! I'm sad that I don't have any pictures of him :(

  3. I am not a fan of snakes so I am not sure I would have made it a mile. lol It looks like a great place to hike.

    1. Since we didn't see any snakes, we kept going--but I did not take my eyes off the ground until we were well past where the bikers had said they saw the snake!