Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

All Trails App Maps the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trails on Lake Martin

Around Lake Martin, if I can’t be in a boat, put me on a hiking trail.

The cooler months at Lake Martin are perfect for hiking.  We’ve got lots of elevation here, and I never miss an opportunity to remind my kids that Lake Martin is at the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains.  These trails include great views from high points, and woodsy paths that take you right down to the water.

If you want more info on hiking the Cherokee Ridge system of trails at Lake Martin, go to  This is the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s website, and they’re the folks who maintain these trails.  Please don’t call me – I am but a realtor who likes to hike.

I also wanted to review and plug a cool smartphone app that I downloaded from  AllTrails is a database for thousands of trails across the U.S., plus it allows you to map and save your own trails, and view and rate trails that other hikers have entered. FYI –  I hiked the Chimney Rock Loop trail and here’s what the app recorded:

Pretty cool!  I hope to enter more trails and share them with fellow Lake Martin hikers.  If you get out there, try the AllTrails app and let us know where you’ve been!  A comprehensive record of Lake Martin trail hikes would be a useful tool for hikers, plus it would be a great marketing tool for businesses looking to attract new visitors to the area.

If you see a great Lake Martin property for sale while on your hike, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to contact me and put me to work.  I’d love to be your realtor, and I’d love to help you find your Lake Martin home.

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In Search of Striped Bass on Lake Martin, Part 1

I have literally spent a lifetime on Lake Martin, but the other day I felt like I met a totally new side Lake Martin for the very first time.  It was kind of like driving the boat home from my kids’ first wake board demo at Blue Creek Marina and realizing we’d just scratched the surface of this Lake Martin subculture – like an onion, the lake has many layers. Except it’s not like an onion in that it doesn’t stink or make you teary when you cut it.

The layer I discovered a couple of weeks ago was the striped bass layer, courtesy of David Hare of Alex City Guide Service.

I had already shot this video series with him when I bumped into him around the north lake area, near the River Bridge (Highway 280 bridge).  Even though I’d heard him talk about fishing Lake Martin, I was not prepared for the amount of fun I had. He took Lake Martin fishing to a whole new level for me.

The above video is the first in a trilogy of interviews with David about fishing for striped bass, in particular. If you’re antsy to fish and can’t wait for the next video post, you can 1) go to my LakeMartinVoice YouTube Channel and watch all three interviews there, or 2) go ahead and call David at Alex City Guide Service and schedule a trip. David’s number is (256) 401-3089.

After fishing with David, my only regret was that I was in my wife’s car, and didn’t have a cooler to bring home the fish fillets. Rookie mistake.

Check out the photos from my trip with David below:

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The Original Lake Martin Paddler

Any reader of this real estate blog knows that I am way into the recent trend of paddle boarding that has hit Lake Martin. I am a proud fan of the Paddle Lake Martin fan page on Facebook and enjoyed putting on a paddle board race in June.

But I am blown away by, and supremely jealous of, Harold Banks of Dadeville.  Harold is the original Lake Martin paddler in my book. I have been reading his day by day account of paddling from Fort Toulouse (the confluence of the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers, aka The Alabama River) to Mobile Bay.  If you have not read this account, give yourself a treat and read these links on The Alexander City Outlook and his account in Lake Martin Living Magazine.

This amazing adventure reminded me that Mr. Banks became the first person to canoe the entire Tallapoosa River a few years ago.  The Tallapoosa is what feeds Lake Martin, and it has its origins as a humble creek in Georgia. Banks took a few weeks in 2009 and started at its Georgia headwaters, paddled through the state line into Alabama, through a few lakes including Lake Martin, all the way to Fort Toulouse near Wetumpka.  You can google “harold banks tallapoosa” for more info.  He is mentioned on the Alabama Scenic River Trail site, but if you want to read his amazing travel journal from the trip, click here.

He has really inspired me. I have been wanting for years to do that, but per his advice I will take it in chunks. I am shouting out to my fellow Paddle Lake Martin folks, let’s take down the Lake Martin leg this fall! We could start at the shoals at Jaybird Landing, then end up at the dam.  If we do it over two days, we could even camp one night!

One of these days I promise we’re going to go from Lake Wedowee to Jaybird to soak in the scenery and wildlife. But in the meantime, here’s a good article in Lake Magazine with some shorter trips!

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New Birding Trail Opens In Lake Martin Area

Piedmont Birding Trail At Horseshoe Bend Park  - 06 - Version 2The Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail officially opened on November 17 with a nice ceremony held at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

The Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail is the central Alabama version of the popular birding trails like the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail and the North Alabama Birding Trail.

What is a birding trail?

A birding trail is a collection of locations where bird lovers and other folks can go to observe some of Alabama’s renowned diversity of bird species.  The Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail is organized into three “loops.”

The Lake Martin Loop, obviously, is the part of the trail that will be closest to Lake Martin. Some of the observation points are directly on the water of the lake, such as the DARE Park and the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail head.  Others will take you off the water, but to nonetheless interesting spots like Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

The new trail has already earned some attention.  Deborah Storey covered it in this Hunstville Times article.

Piedmont Birding Trail At Horseshoe Bend Park  - 25For what it is worth, I think this is an outstanding idea and brilliant marketing on the part of the various Chambers of Commerce that worked together to get this done.  I congratulate the Alexander City Chamber for taking the lead on it.  Even if you are not a “birder” – you should realize that birding related tourism is a really big business, and Alabama is a mecca.

Furthermore, it offers yet another thing to do off of the water for people who love Lake Martin.  Fall is the time of year that I think gives you the best chance to hike, bike, and explore the area around the lake.

Speaking of things to do, how many of you have never been to Horseshoe Bend National Military Park?  Why not? It is only about 10 miles off of highway 280 between Dadeville and Alex City.  The dedication ceremony gave me a perfect excuse to tour through it again. When I was growing up, we had oodles of school trips out there.  As a child, I never appreciated the sheer beauty of that park, nor did I grasp the historical significance of a battle that shaped the destinies of millions of acres of land, entire nations of native Americans, and at least one President.  (Hint: check a $5 bill).

After my tour the other day, I was really getting my nature, my history, and my local pride groove on.  I went wild in the Park’s gift shop, buying several (my wife rolled her eyes) books about The Battle, this area’s history, and nature.  My fellow nerds will please note I added them to my Lake Martin Voice Library.  Check them out, they are excellent reads.

To see my other pictures of the opening of the Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail, and Horseshoe Bend Park in general, please see:

Flickr Photo Set by Lake Martin Voice
Piedmont Birding Trail At Horseshoe Bend Park  - 46

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Live With Black Bears At Lake Martin

“Black Bear Spotted In Dadeville” – when I read this headline in the Dadeville Record a couple of months ago, I literally did a double take.

What? Bears in the Lake Martin area?

lake martin black bear?I grew up here. I work here. I hunt, fish, boat, hike, and generally enjoy the outdoors here. While I am no Marlin Perkins, I at least have a pretty decent knowledge of our local flora and fauna. But bears? This is a first.

Apparently we have at least one black bear roaming the countryside around the Point Cloxson area of Lake Martin. This is on the north east section, generally near homes with Jacksons Gap or Dadeville in their addresses.

I am excited. I have seen wild bears before: grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park and plenty of black bears while trout fishing in the Smokies. But those were at safe distances and I was on the alert.

Black bears aren’t supposed to be around here

I want a picture.

The Outlook article quoted multiple sightings from plenty of credible people. But no picture. I would love one. I will be on the lookout myself, and would love to scoop Kenneth Boone on this story. Kenneth, known locally as “Mr. Perfect” for his dapper and occasion appropriate attire is our region’s newspaper magnate and a legitimately talented photographer.

Imagine his professional chagrin if, a lowly realtor like me that uses all auto settings on my camera, am able to get a picture of the bear first. Granted, I am relying totally on luck. The bear will literally have to walk out in the road in front of me and stay there for at least 30 seconds while I fumble for my iPhone.

I have one advantage – I have a waterfront home for sale near the bear’s lair. 173 Wood Duck Loop is right off of Point Cloxson Road, not 2,000 feet from the sightings. This may be the only time I ever get to use this tease:

Would you like to own a Lake Martin home near a known black bear habitat?

173 Wood duck loop lake martin

173 Wood Duck Loop is a nice one. It’s a 2 bed 1 bath home that is fixed up to the nines. The seller has completely renovated it. Completely new wiring, installed beautiful granite in the kitchen, put in stainless appliances, vaulted the ceilings, even put in a Rennai tankless water heater. All this for well under $300k.

Click here for more info on 173 Wood Duck Loop and watch the full motion video tour.

By the way, would you like an easy way to keep up with Lake Martin area news? Lake Martin Buzz is the way to do it. It combines news headlines from companies like the Alex City Outlook with tweets and status updates from local people and small businesses. It combines them all and tweets them here or posts them all on one website here.

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Deer Take Refuge In StillWaters

Cold weather means deer season here in Alabama. Whether or not you are a deer hunter, you can’t help but notice the increase of pickup trucks dragging loaded down trailers, driven by hunters in orange clothing.  It’s definitely a little more dangerous to be a deer this time of year.

Except in one neighborhood.

Deer In Stillwaters Lake Martin

You still see deer in the Lake Martin neighborhood of StillWaters.

StillWaters is a gated community on the Dadeville side of Lake Martin. It is large by Lake Martin standards, and has a mixture of off water homes, waterfront homes, and waterfront condos. It also has a golf course and marina.  If you would like to see waterfront homes and lots for sale right now in the StillWaters area, CLICK HERE to go to my StillWaters Neighborhood page. I have a report that shows every waterfront home and lot for sale – by all agents, all brokerages, on Lake Martin. It pulls from the Lake Martin MLS so it will be current no matter when you visit the page.

Stillwaters also has a large herd of whitetail deer. It is not uncommon at all to see them on the side of the road, placidly grazing, not a care in the world.

whitetail deer fawn in stillwaters lake martin

I have seen a doe in this same general area several times. I guess this is her fawn. They are almost tame. Check out this video to see how close I got to them in my car. I originally posted this on my media blog on posterous.

I filmed this when I was on the way back from one my listings. I have a waterfront condo for sale in StillWaters, inside one of the condo developments named Villas on the Harbor.

Would you like to see deer like this on your morning walk?

Just like any waterfront home, lot, or condo on Lake Martin, I can help you with it, regardless of who has it listed. I would love to be your real estate agent. CLICK HERE to contact me, or you can email me (info @ lakemartinvoice . com), or you can call me at (334) 221-5862.

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Lake Martin Glass Minnow Traps

What a cool picture of a glass minnow trap made right here at Lake Martin:

Lake Martin Minnow Trap

I found this pic in the Lake Martin dot com forum. A fellow on there is researching its origin. Another reader pointed out an old sign near McCain Road and highway 229. If you know anything about them, feel free to comment below or on the post thread on the forum.

I love to fly fish but I also am fascinated by traps of all sorts, used in the live bait fishing world. Two totally different extremes, I know. We still have the wire minnow trap that I used as a kid to get spot tail minnows. Later on my dad bought a bunch of clear plastic ones that a local dude made out of 3 liter coke bottles (remember those?). They worked well but were fragile.

Last year I bought my dad this trap from Cabela’s, thinking it would harvest a bounty of crawdads for bait. We put it out in a likely spot but all we caught were a bunch of turtles that nearly destroyed the trap. If anyone has any crawdad trapping tips (like how to keep out the turtles), please advise.

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Bald Eagle Fishing In Little Kowaliga

Winter at Lake Martin means the lake level gets drawn down. It gives us a chance to work on our docks, at least. It also sometimes means you get some rare wildlife spottings.

Check out these pictures of a bald eagle that was fishing in the Little Kowaliga area of Lake Martin. My fellow Lake Martin Voice Realty agent John Christenberry was over near Real Island Marina and saw this one capture a big bass.

The eagle dropped it on the shore, flew around a little bit, then came back to it.

lake martin bald eagle

Taking off here

lake martin bald eagle

Now he’s almost gone..

lake martin alabama bald eagle grabs fish

Do you have any wildlife photos from around Lake Martin? Email us at info at lakemartinvoice dot com. Or, feel free to add them to the I Love Lake Martin Alabama page on Flickr or to our Facebook page.

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Is Lake Martin Too Crowded on July 4?

The Fourth of July is always one of the busiest times at Lake Martin. That’s a given.

Another given is that you will hear a little whining and “back in my day” stories from the old timers who didn’t have fancy boats. They had to ride to Acapulco Rock on a dugout canoe, back when Sand Island was the size of Goat Island.

Sure, Lake Martin is busier now than it was back in the 50s.  Here are 3 residents that I bumped into last week:

lake martin amphitheater deer

Dirt roads still dominate the lake area. So do deer.  There are more deer here than people.


Lake hummingbirds get so exhausted from plentiful nectar that they have to sit down for a while to rest. I took this at one of my new listings .

lake martin turtle alabama

Lake Martin turtles are not shy. They bug you with their endless pacing about.

Off to fight the crowds…….

For more totally amateur pictures of Lake Martin wildlife, see my set on Flickr: Lake Martin Wildlife

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The Helipad At The Village Visited By Wild Turkeys

I have a cool Lake Martin home for sale at 40 Cottage Loop in The Village.  The Village is just east of Martin Dam, off of Overlook Road.  I was surprised to see a flock of wild turkeys feeding around the helipad.

The Village installed this helipad a couple of years ago as a public service, so that the area would have a spot for emergency airlifts.  It’s a nice bonus for owners in The Village to have that safety feature.

If you would like to see waterfront homes and lots for sale right now in The Village area, CLICK HERE to go to my Village Neighborhood page. I have a report that shows every waterfront home and lot for sale – by all agents, all brokerages, on Lake Martin. It pulls from the Lake Martin MLS so it will be current no matter when you visit the page.

turkeys at the village helipad

I was on the way to check up on the home I have for sale when I saw this flock of turkeys.  I hit my brakes, grabbed my long lens, and sneaked back through the woods to try to take some pictures.

hens on a hill

These hens have a sharp eye out. Many people don’t realize that turkeys don’t look in the direction that their beak is pointed, but perpendicularly. In this case, right at me.

gobbler going the other way

As always they were wary and elusive. After this pic they putted at me and headed off. They flock together like this during winter for protection.  In the spring the toms get territorial.

I tried to loop around one more time to get a nice clean picture of a gobbler:

almost a great pic

I call the above one “Almost.” This is what I feel like during hunting season. A quarter second after this pic, I leaned around the tree, and he was gone, dissolved into the understory of the forest.

If you would like to see a nice, new waterfront Lake Martin home that is a really good deal, read about 40 Cottage Loop, watch the video, and give me a call.

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