Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham, AL
Apr 25, 2011
|On Monday we decided to head up to Oak Mountain State Park to visit the Alabama Wildlife Center.
Oak Mountain SP is a 10,000 acre state park located in Pelham, AL where our RV park was. The Wildlife Center is a wildlife rehabilitation center. The center treats injured or orphaned wildlife from the greater Birmingham area and birds of prey from across the state. It treats approximately 2,500 animals each year. While not all of the animals being treated at the center are on display, you have the opportunity to observe many of the patients through one-way windows. The nursery, solarium and Backyard Wildlife Demonstration Garden are located inside the building. Adjacent to the main building are the Raptor Wing and Freedom Flight, where large birds on the cusp of release are housed. Nearby is the Treetop Nature Trail, where otherwise-healthy birds unable to be released into the wild may be observed in a natural setting along an elevated boardwalk.
We did not get to observe very many birds - there were four red-tailed hawks in the Raptor Wing and several eggs being incubated and a few young chicks they were hand feeding but those were not visible to visitors. All in all the center had a great set up but don't go expecting to see anything exciting.
From here we decided to check out the park and headed up a road that promised "falls." After a four mile drive, we pulled into a very large parking lot that had several fire engines and other fire equipment from the Pelham Fire Department. We learned that they were doing practice rescues at the falls area, so decided to hike the quarter mile to the falls. As we reached a sign saying "upper falls" > and "lower falls" < we ran into a couple coming from the upper falls. They are the ones who informed us that the upper falls were closed due to the fire fighter training.
So, with our destination decided for us, we headed to the lower falls which began with an ominous sign stating: PEAVINE FALLS AREA: CAUTION: ROCKY, STEEP, RISKY ... VERY DANGEROUS AREA ... ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Oh me, oh my .... of course we'll go ....
Yeah well, straight down we go, shale and mud, rocks - thank God for skinny tree branches. Jo - you're not a kid any more! Dick - please don't turn your ankle again! Oops, that was on my butt for about three feet. God why are we doing this; are we going to make it back up; can't let this couple we're walking with think we're a couple of woosies???? !!!! (By the way, this couple has a niece that lives in Eagle, Idaho. And, I forgot to mention that a couple we met in the RV Park has a daughter that lives in Eagle and works for St. Lukes. Such a small world.)
Whew .... we made it. Now I wish I had a bottle of water, shoes with tread, socks and a towel so I could splash in the waterfall!
We sat and watched the fire fighters practice their rescue techniques; they only dropped the poor dummy once! The Peavine Falls were beautiful, well worth the walk, and the Mountain Laurel was in full bloom and smelled wonderful.
Ok, time to start back. Are you sure there isn't a parking lot just around the corner so Dick could go get the car and pick me up? No, well okay - it's only a quarter of a mile all up hill. Wait, there's no sliding on your butt going up hill is there?
We made it back with a few short stops in between to watch the butterflies - ok, ok, to let me rest, and continued out of the Park and back to the comfort of our RV. I know my feet are going to be tired tonight!
For pictures of Oak Mountain click here.
Dick, Jo & Harley