We are still in Spanish Fort, AL. Staying at Blakely State Park and putting on hiking miles to prepare ourselves for our thru-hike.
We have been coming to Blakely State Park since we arrived in Alabama to use the parks trail system for training. We were driving a half hour to the park from our RV resort to hike, so in early January we moved to this park. It definitely was worth it, because they offer big lots with a lot of pine trees, so the neighbors are not right next to us.
The Park has a lot of amazing history. From ancient Native American, Spanish, French, British and a civil war battlefield. The battle took place right at the end of the war, known as the battle Fort Blakley. The small town of Blakley, which was bigger than Mobile in the early 1820’s, The fort had a three-mile trench and gun redoubts system that encompassed the town of Blakley. It’s kind of surreal and interesting to be hike through the wood and see the old trenches and cannon positions. The park is located on the northeast end of Mobile Bay on the Tensaw River. Which lead to a naval battle between the Union and Confederate navys.
The Blakeley Park is more convenient for us just a few miles out of Spanish Fort and 15 minutes away from downtown Mobile. Cheri, Stella and I took a ferry from Gulf Shores to Dolphin Island and check out Fort Gains then drove up to Mobile had some amazing food and Cheri was able to get her favorite local drink a bushwhacker.
We celebrated my birthday with friends of our that had moved from Wisconsin to Florida six years ago. All by luck, they were renting a cabin here at the park, neither of us know the other was here. We just ran into them on our hike. Small World! After the headed back we met up with friends of ours from Wisconsin that are full-time RVing as well. It was fun check out the breweries in historic Mobile, a wine tasting. We also saw a replica ship of the Pinta in Gulf Shores and went to a gumbo festival with live music in Foley.
Gearing Up for Thru-hike
As many of you already know, Tom, Stella, and I are planning to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail starting in Georgia March 2023 and ending in Maine around September 2023. Our hike will be just under 2,200 miles.
In preparation, I have booked our flight and gotten most of our gear. We have recently moved to Blakeley State Park in Alabama to ramp up our trail miles on their many trails through historic battlefields.
The other thing I have been working on is finding multiple charities that we can walk for. I thought it would be the extra motivation to keep us going. Tom chose to hike for Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). C.O.P.S. provides resources to help families rebuild their shattered lives. (www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org)
Stella will be hiking for Pawsitism which is a nonprofit in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin that is training Autism Assistance Service Dogs for children with autism. This group partner with the client’s family to train, educate, and fundraise money to help provide a dog to help with their child needs. They work with Golden Retrievers, Goldendoodles and now Bernedoodles. (pawsitism.org)
I will be hiking for Mental Health America Mental Health America (MHA). MHA's work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. (mhanational.org)
I will put the link on the site when I have everything put together. All of these charities mean a lot to us, and we hope to raise a lot of money for them. Please spread the word.
Hello from Alabama!
We made our way from Wisconsin to Riverside RV Resort outside Robertsdale, AL. On our way we visited Mammoth Caves National Park. This national park brings our count to 11 national parks for the year. We also spent a little time in Nashville before moving on the Chattanooga, TN. Tom was excited to spend some looking at battlefields.
Since we have settled in AL, we have met up with Jerry, Scott and Joy. We met Jerry when we stayed in CO. He showed us all around the area and we hope to get together with him again to do some more hiking. We went on a dolphin watch with Scott and Joy. They are friends of ours from WI. They also started their full time RV journey last year. They are enjoying it as much as we are.
Since we have been in AL we have checked out several forts along the gulf. We also went to see the USS Alabama in Mobile.
On our way down we stayed the night: