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Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the ninth chapter of his story. People of the River Along the trail I met ENO hangers, Old Town paddlers, river angels, and river strangers. I met a tourist in Fairhope, Alabama who paddles the same canoe as me when he goes on extended canoe trips back home in the South of France! When I explain to people what I am doing they either think I am crazy or think I am “living the dream.” No matter what people’s opinion of my mental health status was, they offered a helping hand. Sometimes I was offered a cold drink, sometimes a ride or sometimes something as simple and delicious as a fresh tomato from their garden, a gift that makes all the difference while camping on the river. Like John Fogerty said in his song, “Proud Mary,” “people on the river are happy to give.” Another thing people had to share was their story. My favorite part of meeting new people is hearing their stories and gleaning insight and wisdom from their life experiences. Sometimes the...
Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the eighth chapter of his story.   Wildlife on the Alabama River As soon as the Coosa River ended I was on the lookout for alligators. On the upper Alabama River I saw tens of thousands of hatched eggs spilling out of sand burrows with little clawed slide marks going towards the water. “My God!” I thought. There must be alligators everywhere! I later witnessed that these were just turtle nests. It’s funny how you can build up a danger in your mind and become hyper-alert to it. I did see some large alligator slides along the upper Alabama River though. On the middle section of the Alabama River, the Spoonbill Catfish (Polyodon spathula) are jumping at an amazing rate! Every 30 seconds or so one would jump out of the water. I kept waiting for one to jump into my boat, but it never happened. I was never fishing specifically for them, but was surprised that I didn’t accidentally hook one. Apparently people do fish for them, but not for their meat. Somebody told...
Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the seventh chapter of his story.   The End of the Coosa Well, I’ve made it to the Alabama River!  Coosa Outdoors outfitter and trail angel Lonnie Carden picked me up at Jordan Dam and drove me and my gear to his river property, The Dirt Farm.  He set me up with a covered area to hang my hammock and it even had electricity and fans!  There was clean water nearby too – high living, compared to how I’ve been camping. A group of friends came down to camp and paddle with me.  Lonnie dropped us off at the base of the dam so we could paddle the rapids at the end of the Coosa.  I made it down Moccasin Gap, a class III rapid, fine, but I flipped on one of the smaller rapids.  My “waterproof” phone, which was supposed to be able to submerge for 30 minutes, got wet and died.  I have insurance so I got a replacement, but I lost all my pictures.  Sadly, I had been relying heavily on cataloging...
Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the sixth chapter of his story.   Plants on the River I have been on the river for fifteen days now. I’ve paddled over 180 miles. It is exhausting but fun. I am swimming, fishing, lots of paddling and I have been collecting a lot of plants and pressing them, as well as photographing them. So many familiar medicinal plants that I learned from afar but never met in person! Even more plants that I’ve never seen before. I’ll have lots of species to identify when I get off the river! Beebalm (Monarda spp.) Coosa River, north of Lake Henry Neely. There are six species of this plant growing in Alabama and I’m currently not sure which one this is. Medicinally these species are used interchangeably, lucky for me. It is used as a stimulating nervine similar to peppermint, for anti-nausea, and as a mild diuretic. Tastes similar to Bergamot Oil used in Earl Grey tea. Very aromatic and pleasant tasting. Unsure of ethnobotanical history of use.   Basswood, a.k.a. American Linden (Tilia americana) Lake...
Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the fifth chapter of his story.   I started my journey down the Alabama Scenic River Trail on Wednesday, May 20. For the first two days I battled strong headwinds on the open waters of Lake Weiss. Lake paddling is my least favorite, especially when I have the wind against me. I’m happy to report I’ve Portaged my first damn and I’m now on the Coosa River! Turns out I packed too much and I’m over my estimated gear weight. It’s primarily food and some gear essentials like stove fuel, fishing gear, plant press, etc… It took me several 0.8 mile trips to carry my gear to the base of the dam. At least I only have 4 more Portages to go! My second camp site was less than desirable, but it was getting dark.  While gathering firewood by flashlight, I was excited to find some Wood Ear Mushrooms. I was able to cook them up and include them in my coconut curry dinner. They are the sliced up mushrooms you get in sweet and...
Note from ENO: As a co-sponsor, we will be following Trevor’s adventure on the Alabama Scenic River Trail over the next few months. This is the beginning of his story.

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