So we've talked about the good eats at the Alabama Hotel, the fine meats at Alabama Holley Farms, the camels and the general sentiment in town that there ain't much to see, which I'm going to go ahead and ascribe to the maxim: you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Alabama is gorgeous. Maybe that's why folks say they've got not much to see. They don't want the rest of us cretins to go stomping through the splendor of it all.
At the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, they've got nearly 11,000 acres of pristine lands. Dorothy Gerhart told me they see about 264 species of birds pass through each year, most of which stay for at least a little while. Then there are the bald eagles that build their nests—some the size of a Buick—on site and only leave the refuge when everything freezes and are usually back by the end of January. Dorothy is the visitor services manager at the refuge.
Folks come to the refuge just to walk the trails, some come during hunting season for the waterfowl and game, some come in the middle of the winter for the ice fishing on the marshes. It truly is a bit of old country upstate.
Dorothy and I got to talking about all of the caterpillars in the road. I must have seen about a dozen of them down the half mile stretch to get to the visitor's center off Route 77. (Throughout the day, in fact, I'm sure I saw at least 30 of the suckers inching their way across the gravel.)
Dorothy told me that all of these woolybears, as they're called, are a sign that we may be setting in for an especially severe winter. I read much the same in the Farmer's Almanac. All of the extra berries on the trees, too, are such a sign, said Dorothy, that shows nature's own effort to take care of her own in the coming of a cold winter.
As for the other sights and sounds of Alabama, here's another video and some photos that should cover the rest of my trip. Enjoy.
Here's an especially regal-looking home on Lewiston Road:
Here are some sights from around town: