08:13:11, Alabama, 32° 39.538’N, 86° 55.151’W – Plantersville, Alabama, named for it’s cotton planters is located on the banks of Big Mulberry Creek, on an old Indian trail leading from Huntsville to Cahaba.
Big Mulberry Creek is the main event in this small town. It’s a beautiful low flow creek with deposits of heafty-sized sandbanks. Leave you kayak at home. This creek is for hiking.
Park your car next to the Mulberry Creek Bridge, 32° 39.538’N, 86° 55.151’W, and walk downstream to begin a 6 mile loop hike that circles back through the town. Expect to wade across the stream countless times, slide over sand dunes and crunch over rock beds. Your dawgs will get a workout so take mole skin and wear socks to keep the sand out of your shoes or else your toes will rub raw.
4 wheeler tracks are all over the creek but I was doing this hike early in the day when no one was out. It’s real peaceful with a few high cliffs that leave you wondering how such a pleasant little creek could do that.
At about 3.3 miles you’ll reach a railroad bridge. This is your turn-around point. The track runs between the creek and the town back to where you started. The bridge is supported by brick stone towers of an earlier design. Look around a bit. You’ll find discarded railroad spikes, bolts and screws. If you’re lucky a train might cross over.
By the time I reached the railroad bridge it was around 2:00 and I had not seen another person. A sound like a cross between a lawnmower and a motorcycle was heading in my direction. Just then a convoy of 4 wheelers rounded the bend driving up the center of creek coming down for some Southern chillaxin’. Trying to remain unnoticed, I climbed up on the bridge and hiked the rail road track back into town. This is what you want to do too because walking the track is like taking a Southern back country tour of Plantersville. There are some strange curiosities along the way you’ll want to check out like roads that cross the track and just disappear into the woods. Walk up one and you’ll likely find abandoned homesteads with plenty of interesting artifacts from a time gone by. One abandoned house is teetering on the edge of cliff.
When you reach the main crossroads there’s a great old abandoned grocery store on the corner and diagonally across is an old tin mill. Next to that is a strange scene; a house, still occupied, sits in the middle of a junk car yard. Across the street is a tidy little red brick Church with a graveyard. The track splits apart and left idle is a train car. You could spend all day here at the crossroads just taking photographs.
Follow the road just down from the church to the Mulberry Creek Bridge to complete the 6 mile loop. As I crossed over the bridge, 4 wheelers were making waves down on the creek. The summer sun cast a warm late afternoon glow over the landscape. Country music echoed from below the bridge. It sounded pretty good here in Plantersville, Alabama.
– Steve Tanner