Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hays Preserve, Part 1

Saturday morning. The sun is up, the sky is blue, predicted temperatures in the 50's. Today's quest - Hays Nature Preserve. When exploring a preserve that is new to me I love going solo. There's no timetable except my own, which usually involves sitting quietly in a place and letting the area come back alive after my first disturbing it. For me, that's the best way to get a sense of place and see what's living there.

Driving into the preserve I was greeted by the above sign. Hey. This says it all to me. I'm a rabid fan of dead snags and trees so this philosophy gels with my own. I'm at home here already.

Hays Nature Preserve, formally called J.D. and Annie S. Hays Nature Preserve is actually a city park. The link will take you to the City of Huntsville's website about this preserve and the city's future plans for it and their Goldsmith-Shiffman Wildlife Sanctuary. At this site you can download trail maps and get directions to the park. As well, you can read the city's philosophy and plans for these two parks. Although this is a city park, one can join the Preserve. Preserves need all the help they can get so I aim to pitch in and do my part. Oh, while Googling to find out more about Hays Preserve I found another Alabama blogger who had written a nice piece about it within an Alabama blog called Flashpoint. Authored by "Reactionary," also known as Jay Hightower, his post introduced the human element to Hays Preserve, highlighting the work that's been done and that needs to continue. Check it out if you're interested.

After parking in a nicely accommodating parking lot, I ambled over a lovely footbridge that spanned the Flint River tributary above Cherokee Landing. It was here I lingered and shot photo after photo of the spectacular water beneath me. The current was swift, but what grabbed me straight away was the color of the water. By the time I arrived the sun was high in the sky, the light was flat and bright. By the time I left in mid-afternoon the water was even more beautiful, as you'll see in future posts.

I headed for Flint Trail. This paved pathway is marked for foot traffic and bikes and is a gentle introduction to Hays Preserve. The path is flat and of a reasonable length which makes it perfect for a zen-like stroll, a little biking with the family or for a nice power walk in the sunshine. It rambles alongside the stream bed, and offers a few cleared areas from which one can view the waters that gently go by.

I'm struck by the reflections. Bare trees in jewel-toned waters.

Just soak this in for a minute. I'll wait.


Dancing sycamore branches.

Finally I left the bridge. The water is mesmerizing but there's so much to explore. Leaving the footbridge I follow the path which opens to sunlight and fields, clearly where crops feed birds and wildlife. I could see small birds foraging in the scrubby leftovers far away nestled in a sea of green. The sun is bright and warm, which feels so nice after our wet, cold and wild winter season. I turn east and saunter down the pathway.


blog with no name said...

Beautiful place! When you walk in beauty you find that after your arrival in a place like that, you are actually welcomed by the creation as a brother or sister... keep on showing us the beauty in these places as you visit them. Thank you

The Garden Ms. S said...

What a mysterious water colour. It reminds of the waters that come from the Rocky mountains, illuminated turquoise with the glacial silt.

Jenny said...

Hi Debi
I really enjoyed the first part of your experience at Hays Preservewith its beautiful reflections. Very much looking forward to more installments.

Gaelyn said...

So glad you could get away and go exploring in such a magical place. This is a great way to clear the head of everyday "stuff" and enjoy the beauty.

Eve said...

I can't wait for more parts Debi. That water looks like some kind of smooth frosting on a birthday cake! This was the weekend we've all dreamed of wasn't it. We worked on our bikes Saturday and truck Sunday but took our first real ride on Sunday afternoon. I have to say, I'm in LOVE with Miss Iron!!

Together We Save said...

Beautiful shots

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I love that sign! It's so true.. I can't stand when people take trees down just because they think dead looks "ugly".

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Thanks, Debi. Another local place to add to my list to places to visit! I love the color of the water. I also liked your photo and caption "Dancing Sycamores"- very appropriate!

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Thanks for taking me on your lovely repose! The dancing sycamore branches are captivating. BTW, thank you so much for your lovely comments my dear. :)

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

debsgarden said...

This is fantastic! I will definitely put hays Nature Preserve on my list of places to visit. Your blog is wonderful - so much to see!

kendalee said...

I can almost feel the sunshine from here... just what's needed! Those dancing sycamore's especially make me very happy - lovely shot :)

Reactionary said...

Fantastic pictures! Your skill brings out the natural beauty of the Hays Preserve.

Thanks for your kind words and the link to my blog.


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