Horse Pens 40 Rocks

Most people don’t think of boulders in Alabama but they exist. Horse Pens 40 is known as a  world-class bouldering destination. I had been here several times before at a child with my parents, probably during some craft festival but didn’t remember what it looked like even when my sister and I stopped by in March. I don’t remember the big rocks although I wasn’t much into rock climbing as a child and that was well over 40 years ago. It was cool to walk around and they have some great easy trails if you don’t want to climb around. My favorite is the last picture of the big rock with the small sign that says “Rock” in case you were confused.

There were a few people there rock climbing although the park was mostly deserted due to the recent rains.

Along the trails.

From the top.

We only stayed for about 2 hours.  We were already tired from walking around another park so we didn’t go to far on the trails. The dark clouds were just starting to break up so the weather turned out nice. I would love to come back here and stay for a night or two. In a cabin though, not a tent.

SkyWatch Friday

Horse Pens 40 Park

Horse Pens 40 Park sits at the top of Chandler Mountain in northern Alabama, the 3rd highest elevation in the state in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I hadn’t been since i was a toddler so I didn’t have any memory of being there. On the way home from  hiking around Noccalula Falls, my sister and I decided to stop in for a quick walk. The park has cabins and trails and is known for holding music festivals during the summer. The park was originally settled in 1880 and the name comes from the deed containing the amount of land the horses were kept on, horse pens 40 for 40 acres.

Looking down the mountain.

SkyWatch Friday

A little bit of history

I was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1963. My mother was pregnant with me through some historic events that happened that year in this city. I would not learn what happened during that time until much later. My parents were not from the south. They ended up there because of my dad’s job in the middle 50’s. My mom grew up in New York and my dad grew up in Argentina, moving to American in his late teens. When I was young, my friends thought my parents were from another planet since they didn’t have southern accents. I didn’t know the small park in the pictures below existed. I grew in northern Birmingham going to a Catholic grade school and then a public high school. I don’t remember learning about any of the events that took place the year I was born. It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta after college and became interested in history that I heard the stories about “Bombingham”. 

My sister and I spent some time at Kelly Ingram Park during my visit over Easter weekend. Neither of us had ever been there before. The park is located across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church where 4 young girls were killed when a bomb went off in the church on a Sunday Morning in 1963. The park now has many statues and sculptures related to the civil rights movements.

The famous “Foot Soldiers” statue depicts a scene of what happened in  May of 1963.

More sculptures in the park.

The statue of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Four Spirits statue that depicts the 4 young girls that died in the church bombing in September 1963.

Roses next to the Four Spirits statue.

Across from the park, the 16th Street Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a frequent speaker. There’s a lot of history in this building that you can read about here. 

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Debbie’s and Dave’s Botanical Gardens

Lots of things were blooming at my sister’s house in north Birmingham when I was visiting over Easter weekend. A bad storm hit the day before I arrived and when the sun came out over the weekend, everything started blooming quickly.

She had orchids blooming in the kitchen.

A fire in the old pot-bellied stove kept us warm while we watched the full moon rise out in the backyard.

A small park in Birmingham

We saw a bluebird in a tree and then realized there was one in the nest box.

A small flock of geese were swimming and foraging.

My 2nd northern rough wing swallow sighting in Birmingham that weekend. This one seemed to be resting and let me take several pictures.

A common robin.

While visiting my sister in Birmingham in late March, we stopped at a small park for a quick walk before lunch. She use to walk there frequently and thought there would be geese as well as other birds. She was right. Lots of good stuff in this little park. It was perfect spot before heading to lunch.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Beauty in the drizzle

Pretty things in the drizzle at Noccalula Falls in north Alabama. We were lucky that the rain had stopped while we walked around the park. A little drizzle for a short time but at least the pouring rain had stopped. It was still a beautiful place even in the gloom.

The petting zoo animals were having fun in the mild weather.

I would like to get back there in the fall when the leaves are changing.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World. 

Birds on a mountain

Chickadees were the most common bird in my sister’s backyard. There were several on the feeders the weekend I was visiting along with a few cardinals.

I saw one brown thrasher. I was sitting on the back porch and saw him land in the tree right in front of me.

Many other birds passed through while I was there. Brown headed cowbird (I don’t see these near my home in Tampa),  carolina wrens, towhees and titmouse. I think the titmouse was working on a nest.

I don’t know what this. Might be a juvenile house sparrow.

I think these are all chipping sparrows. They were all over the yard.

My sister Debbie lives north of Birmingham on a small mountain in Odenville. It’s quiet there and they have woods that back up to their yard. Her and her husband have put in a lot of work making the backyard into a mini botanical gardens with beautiful bushes, flowers and trees. They have 2 fish ponds and several bird feeders which attracts a lot of birds. We spent the afternoon sitting outside chatting while I took pictures of the birds passing through. I was glad I brought my 300mm lens along so I could just sit there and take the pictures.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup