I took advantage of a three day weekend to rest up before our annual audit starts. This gave me a little time to explore and camp along the way. I decided to go to Rickwood Caverns State Park. I had never been here or even heard of the place. It is about 30 miles North of Birmingham just off I-65. The cave here was worth exploring. The cave was eroded from the ancient sea bed. Some points of the cavern were actually through coral. You could see fossils and some shells on the ceiling in some areas.
The cavern trail was closer to 1.5 miles with some significant stair climbing. Most of the front of the cave was inactive either from time or our current drought conditions. The last part of the cave was more damp with cave structures still forming.
After the cavern trail, I hiked the 1.5 mile Fossil Mountain trail. This trail was a loop off the parking area with some rock gardens but no major feature otherwise. I attempted to find fossils, but really didn’t see anything definitive. The couple of things I found could have been fossilization or normal weathering. It was hard to tell.
On Saturday, I decided to get in one more trail on the way home. The Vulcan trail is located at the base of the Vulcan Statue in Birmingham. It was more of an urban exercise area than hiking trail. The first (and last) mile is on a old paved access road with the middle .5 being off road for a total of 3 miles. Red iron ore is all along the path. The path does have nice views of downtown Birmingham.
Lastly, how can you come this close and not visit the Vulcan? The elevator was broken, no doubt to insufficient funding, making about a 10 story stair climb the only way up. Again the views were fantastic. You could even see the old Sloss Furnace from my previous hikes.