pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
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Solo. My trail name was given to me by John Collins, a retired school principal from Florida,
during my first long distance hike on the Appalachian Trail back in 1975. I have done two
more long hikes on the AT and many week and weekend hikes since then. I grew up in
northeast Atlanta. The north Georgia mountains were right in my backyard, so I always
claim that as home.
I consider myself lucky to have been living mostly in Anniston Alabama since 1986 and I
think of this as my second home. Anniston is just a stones throw from the Pinhoti and I
was a little surprised that the vast majority of people I knew had never heard of it. Jeez,
that's darn near blasphemy. How could a city of 35,000 be 10 miles from the Pinhoti and
not know it existed?
I started running with the Anniston Runners Club in 1986. In the 90's, a group of us
started trail running on Sundays. We really struggled trying to find road crossings and
fighting our way through overgrown and poorly marked trail sections. I was bitching and
moaning the whole time because I was a spoiled AT brat. Finally, a few years ago I adopted
a philosophy that changed my outlook on everything; If you have a problem, either fix it or
shut up. So I decided to help fix it.
I have "logged" over 3000 volunteer hours of trail maintenance on a chainsaw crew. I also
wrote all of the Pinhoti Trail Guides for Alabama, which took 2 years and 53 hikes to
measure the Alabama Section twice and a lot of road trips to get the measurements for
all of the road crossing directions in Alabama and Georgia and I spent 4 years building
this web site.
In 1996 I formed the Horn Mountain Trail Club and adopted Pinhoti Trail Section 4 through
the USFS "Adopt a Trail Program". I was also president of the Alabama Trails Association
(Section 13) for several years. It has been great spending this much time on the trail.
It's also been a lot of hard work!
So far on the Alabama Pinhoti, I have completed 2 northbound thru hikes, 2 northbound
section hikes, 2 southbound section hikes, I am 93.4 miles into my 3rd northbound section
hike, been on hundreds of maintenance trips, and I did group trail running on the Pinhoti
every Sunday for 7 years with the Anniston Runners Club.
Have you ever considered joining a trail club? It's a great way to make great friends and
have a great time doing it! There are a lot of new and exciting things happening on the
Pinhoti right now and this would be a good time to volunteer. Go to the menu on the left
and click on "trail clubs" to visit the Trail Club web sites. They all have different trail section
sponsorships and activities, so pick one and send them an email. They will be glad to hear
Not ready to make that kind of commitment yet? That's OK. You can still make a huge
contribution. Whenever you spend some time on the trail, you can come back and contact
the trail club who maintains the section(s) you visited and tell them about the condition of
the trail. This is a great way to help the Maintainer and Hiker communities!
Report the general location and the type of problem:
Brush / annual growth crowding the trail
Blowdowns / deadfalls / leaners
Eroded trail / switchbacks
Washed out spring / creek crossings
Insufficient trail markings / signs
Unmarked turns / road crossings
Damaged shelters / picnic tables / bridges / signs
Missing shelter log books
Trashy shelters / campsites / trailheads
There are a limited number of Trail Club Volunteers on the Pinhoti. We only have a solid
core group of about 15 or so volunteers who turn out month after month, year after year
to maintain 339 miles of trail. Because of that, we can only make it into each section
about once a year, unless someone reports a problem area. These hiker reports really
mean a lot to us! All of the Trail Clubs and other hikers will appreciate your taking the
time to help us keep this great trail in great shape.
Not ready to make that kind of commitment yet? That's OK too. We're all hikers here
and we want a safe, clean trail to hike on and we want you to have the same thing.
Some of the Pinhoti has been here since the 1970's and there is no way to figure how
many Volunteers have worked on it over the years. Every one of them gave the trail to
me as a gift, free of charge, with no strings attached.
The same holds true for todays Volunteers.
The Pinhoti belongs to you. Enjoy it.