CHEAHA: Page One

A gorgeous spring Saturday for a road trip, despite corona virus as long as we don’t expose ourselves or anyone else—to the virus, that is. The Other Ruth and I packed up our latex gloves, hand sanitizer, masks, bottled water, and wipes and headed out. Our story is that we are sisters and live together. That’s not true, but it would sound pretty good if some overzealous law enforcer questioned our travels.

We had a destination—Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama, which is not saying a lot when you live in a state that begins in the final foothills of the Appalachians and trends downhill from there to the Gulf of Mexico.  We weren’t taking the Interstate, and we didn’t care how long it took to get to the mountain and back because, truth be told, there wasn’t much to come home to these days, especially for two souls in their 70s still learning how to be widows. We figured we’d head out for the day and see what happened.

Gracie and I picked Ruth up about 10:00, and we set off down Highway 280. When we reached Sylacauga, I turned right on Fort Williams Road for a quick stop at the Imerys marble quarry overlook, which Ruth had never seen. Only problem was, the gate was closed and padlocked, like pretty much everything else in Alabama and across the country. Always the more hesitant one, I was ready to turn my little red Encore around and head back out to 280, but The Other Ruth had other ideas. She hopped out and headed for the fence. “We’ll be fine,” she assured as she sidestepped through tall weeds and around the gate. I put Gracie on her leash and followed.

The panoramic view was spectacular, especially on this sunshiny morning under deep blue skies with fresh air and blessedly low humidity. The original Gantt’s Quarry, first worked by Dr. Edward Gantt before the Civil War, was dormant now, half-filled with blue-green water and surrounded by dazzling chunks of white stone. According to a sign wired to the fence, blue-green was not the color of the water but rather of the deep down bottom of the quarry with sunlight reflecting off it.

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