Brief-Form Post #28: A Damp and Breezy Cheaha State Park Stopover!

I am pleased to add the 28th of my GBH Brief Form Posts (Less than three minutes to read!) to my website. I get a bit wordy with my routine Posts. I don’t want my enthusiasm for thoroughness and detail to discourage readers. So I will publish these brief Posts regularly.


Brief-Form Post on my November 26, 2023, Excursion to Alabama’s Cheaha State Park!


Fellow retired forester Chris Stuhlinger and I stopped by Cheaha State Park on our Sunday morning (November 26, 2023) return to Huntsville following Saturday’s Iron Bowl football game at Auburn. The Park sits atop Mount Cheaha, the state’s highest point at 2,407 feet. Fog, strong breezes, and raw mid-forties temperatures greeted us.

Tree form curiosities and oddities intrigue me. Near the entrance gate, a Virginia pine had fought valiantly and persistently for decades to seek and secure sunshine from under the oak tree casting its shadow over the pine. Finding no sun under the oak’s canopy, the pine grew outward, in candy cane fashion and form.



The Civilian Conservation Corps era observation tower marks the high point. I wonder how many days this fine old structure has stood in the summit fog.



Chris and I parked at the old lodge and walked the ADA accessible boardwalk to Bald Rock, aptly named on this blustery day. We could see little beyond stunted Virginia pines, cloud curtains, and bald rocks. I’ve spent many hours on more pleasant days enjoying sunsets, sunrises, and vistas across the broad valley.



I recorded this 44-second video from the Bald Rock overlook at 10:18 AM:


The still photos suggest a more tranquil day, belying the actual mood of the mountain.


I stopped briefly at the veterans memorial flag halfway to the trailhead.


My 15-second video more accurately reflects conditions:


Suffocating stratus and light rain kept the midday dismal at what I would normally describe as lovely Lake Cheaha, nestled in the valley 800 vertical feet below the summit.


I recorded this 44-second video at Cheaha Lake:


I accept the challenge of distilling these Brief-Form Posts into a single distinct reflection, a task far more elusive than assembling a dozen pithy statements. Today, I borrow a relevant reflection from Henry David Thoreau, who knew deeply of waters, solitude, and reflection on life and living:

  • I rise into a diviner atmosphere, in which simply to exist and breathe is a triumph, and my thoughts inevitably tend toward the grand and infinite.


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