Tag Archives: Indian Artifacts

Cane Creek Preserve

In 1979 Jim and Faye Lacefield bought fourty acres in a part of Colbert County, Alabama which can only be described as untouched. A natural canyon with 350-foot limestone walls in some places, the area wasn’t much good for most settler activity. The sheer limestone cliffs and overhangs however, had some prehistoric appeal. Archeologists have discovered pretty clear evidence of a thriving Paleo-Indian culture dating back 10,000 years very near the Cane Creek Preserve.

 Have you located your hiking boots yet?

 Over the years the Lacefields have added acreage. Today’s incarnation, frozen in time, should be a delight for hikers, naturalists and even those looking for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Today’s 700-acre preserve boast’s vistas guaranteed to make you catch your breath like the “Point” and the “Citadel.” Rock formations like the “Hogback” and the “Fin” are just the start of a geologic trip back in time. Footbridges cross Cane Creek and its tributaries to give the most perfect view of numerous waterfalls, gurgling brooks and thunderous clear streams which inspire a quiet reflection not approached anywhere else.

 So, are you ready to take a trip with me?















36 min.










We began the trip at the main parking area. We stopped for a minute to say “hi” to Jim who was sitting in a rocker on the upstairs wraparound porch of the Lacefield home. We set out immediately a few minutes after 10:00. Our first stop is known as the Waterfall. The trail is well kept, well marked and a pleasure for the most directionally challenged. Today however, there is still a little ice on the trail and it is a little treacherous. The view is well worth the extra surefooted effort. We have had more rain than usual and on this day it seemed there was another breathtaking waterfall on every corner. This one still wins the prize. After a small side trip we were back on the Shelf Trail.


IMG_1862I recommend Cane Creek Preserve for a winter romp because the views will knock you out. With the leaves off, there are postcards everywhere. The shelf trail gently descends into the Beaver Pond Wetlands and the beavers had been busy. The beaver family which resides in this area might be a little lazy or smart or both. They have learned to use Jim’s footbridges to weave their logs and mud into a work of engineering art. We found a good ford and headed for Delony Hollow.


Once out of the bogs, the trail hugs the limestone bluffs again. There are tons of rock shelters to explore and I found myself wondering about the ancient peoples who traversed these same hills. The trail gently ascended to an outcropping limestone formation named the Fin. Of course it is the Fin. We took a second to climb the less dangerous section and took a few pictures. I must restate, with the leaves off, pictures kind of take themselves. You just have to get in the way of beauty for a few seconds to see Wagnon, Wheeler and Hawk Pride mountains in the distance. We stopped for a rest at a fire pit at the north end of the traverse before moving on to the Sinks.


IMG_1881After the Sinks came the Pancake Boulders. I wish I had stopped to take some pictures but, we had picked up the pace. The trail back descended to the lowest point of the hike at a little less than 500 feet in elevation. The trail hugs Cane Creek with lots of bridges and the occasional privy which I greatly appreciated. The running gurgling water always brings peace and privy visits. Enough lollygagging, it was time for the leg burner.

Saving the Steep Trail, or what I affectionately call the Leg Burner, for last somehow seems to be a tradition. Even avid hikers will find the leg burner challenging as they ascend almost 300 feet in less than a quarter-mile. You can organize your hike so that you descend this section early but, I would not recommend it. It is quite uncomfortable and somehow goes against my nature to voluntarily walk off a bluff. With leg muscles burning however, the reward is on the way.


IMG_1887The reward is the Point. Cane Creek Preserve has tons of named and unnamed overlooks like the Citadel, the Fin and others but, the Point is the pièce de résistance. From the Point you see most of the Preserve with Hawk Pride Mountain in the background. Like the rest of the Preserve, there is a perfectly placed bench for contemplation. Someone will almost certainly be by in a few minutes which will snap a picture of you and your fellow hikers. For some reason, I always feel compelled to do so. Life is short and we never know if we will need a fresh picture of the Point.


By the time we were back to the main parking area, Faye had joined Jim on the porch. It was Sunday afternoon and there were 30 or so vehicles in the parking area. The breath and depth of geography and people represented always amazes me. There are lots of Tennessee, Mississippi tags but, it is always surprising to see New York or Canadian tag. We returned our walking sticks and maps as we signed out. By the way, please sign in and out. Wanderers frequently get lost and the Lacefields would like to send their Saint Bernards if you come up missing…just kidding. We, as always, shared our gratitude with the Lacefields as we said our goodbyes.

aee07ba6e9b21201c0b8d23ad35c9774scaledCane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
251 Loop Rd.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
Hours of Operation:
Open year-round

Arrowhead Convention

I met my friend Paul when I did a little spiritual spring cleaning on my life about three years back. Paul and I have very little in common. Oil and water aside, we humor each other and do things from time to time which we would not have done otherwise. I did one of those things recently when I accompanied him to a Native American artifact show in Leoma. For those of you not familiar with southern Tennessee, Leoma is just north of St. Joseph. Or explained in the local tongue, Leomer is right up 43 from Saint Joe. Since we are oil and water, I might have referred to the event as an arrowhead convention.


Paul usually ignores my smartellicy remarks. I think that is why we remain good friends.


We met in a parking lot in Florence because Paul gets impatient sometimes. It was a good ride north lined with short, light green winter wheat. We arrived at a little park in Leoma with a beige metal building in the middle. We knew it was a park because it was circled by the requisite round, log, park fence. It was also evident by a scattering of concrete picnic tables. Men and women were gathered around the door smoking in their Carhartt coats and overalls. As we walked in, neighborly howdies were exchanged.


I wish you could have seen Paul’s quick pace. I think he was a little excited.


It was a pretty big crowd and I think we lost each other pretty quickly. There were lines of plastic family reunion tables filled with wooden display cases. I remember being more impressed with the wooden cases than the millions of arrowheads they protected. Paleo, Mississippian…Yada Yada…I was not impressed. I overheard stories at every table about finding this one here and that one there. I overheard experts assessing someone’s artifact. I was working pretty hard at being unimpressed.


Have you ever gotten the feeling God was trying to get your attention?


Seeing the ocean of arrowheads, I decided to find something different. A few minutes later, I found a large dark stone in the shape of an exclamation point. It was without the dot, of course. It was about the length of a hubcap and the width of a bar of soap. The plaque on the case said it was a Celt. The woman behind the table smiled to the point of a grin and said, “I like that artifact too. It’s Jerry’s favorite piece.” I wasn’t sure who this Jerry was but, I had to agree with him. I asked her for what the item was used. “I could tell you but, I will mess it up. Hey can you talk to him,” she asked another short, fat, baldheaded man like myself who was over at the next table and I’m sure talking about finding this one here and that one there. When he arrived I found myself still pointing at the Celt.


Have you ever wondered if excitement was a disease you could catch like a Cold Virus?


CELTThe way Jerry demonstrated using his hand as a visual aid and his ear to ear grin invited me to catch his excitement. He explained how people would cut a tree and fashion a sort of hoe to hollow trees and shape things like canoes. He explained with sweeping hand gestures how with transportation, a whole new world was opened. He talked about how societies who spent less time traveling were able to work on things like a common language, the arts… I love cause and effect. Jerry then delivered what I am sure God’s message for me was that day. The Celt was eight to ten-thousand years old. He continued to explain how artifacts like the Celt helped disprove some historical theories but, my mind had ground to a halt.


Is there anything more complex than perspective?


That line is from a movie, I think, but, it is really true. Just as transportation changed the lives of the Paleo-Americans so, couldn’t the Celt change my life. Shouldn’t any real spiritual spring cleaning begin with a change of perspective? I know my problems were suddenly reduced to their proper place when I held that Celt in my hand. The same tool that some poor sap used to build a leaky canoe ten millennia ago is a tool I could use. A tool to cut away what does not work in my spiritual canoe. Once shaped, there is really no limit to where God can take me.