Saturday, April 11, 2009
Where does one start to explain the feeling one gets traveling the TRACE? We started from Natchez and headed north trying to visualize how a person would manage to walk the entire distance. We took our time and traveled the trace in 3 days and still missed seeing everything listed. At the southern starting point the trees seemed to be denser making the area appear to be more secluded, giving us the impression that we were alone on this journey. Later we ran into other travelers and chatted a bit with them.
If you have ever seen the Milepost, which lists all the important sites along the highway in Alaska, then you can relate to the brocure one is given for the Trace. It lists all the areas along the way, even telling how much time some of the walks will take.
We had been on the trace for 3 or 4 hours when a park ranger was coming from the opposite direction with his flashers going. He made a u-turn behind us and pulled us over. Wanted to know if the trailer was our camper and when we replied in the affirmative, his response was, Carry on". We were not stopped again during the rest of the trip. They must have spread the word about the little green truck and trailer. The first leg of the trip, we went as far as the information center at the Kosciosko chamber of commerce, about 160 miles. The ladies there gave us a printed sheet of campgrounds in the area. The one we stayed at was set up for 5 rv sites. Small, but fulfilled our needs for the night. We were not even unhooking the truck, just a quick meal, relaxing a little and rest for the next part tomorrow. My legs were definitely telling me I had walked and climbed more than usual. Even Grizz came inside early, without complaining, and was sleeping like a log before it was even dark outside.
The next morning we did not get started as early as planned. I had to stop at Walmart for a simple refill of medicine. NOT! When am I going to learn, it is never simple at Walmart or most pharmacies?
Anyway we finally got back on our secluded little back road,speed limit 50 and no commercial vehicles allowed. Our first stop was at the French Camp. Two ladies at the welcome center were so informative and helpful. We had driven by a cafe, about 500 feet back from where we were stopped. So we had to stop there for lunch. It was as good as they had said. Definitely a must-stop if you are doing the trace. Our next major stop was the Parkway Visitor Center, lots of exhibits and a short video that was well worth watching. We stayed at the Tishomingo State Park for the night at 304.5 miles. Wish we had more time to explore the park. We did find the swinging bridge before we left the next morning.
The 3rd leg of the trip started out gloomy,almost raining. As we progressed up the trace the weather became colder and heavy rain. We stopped in Collinwood at the Visitors Center where we were informed of tornado warnings. We spent over an hour there having lunch and waiting for updates on the weather. We finally felt safe to continue on up the road. We found out later that at least 2 tornadoes had touched down, doing damage to over one hundred homes and killing at least 2 people in Murfreesboro not far from Nashville or the Trace.
We found a place to spend the night near Nashville. Thankful that we had driven the Trace in 3 days versus walking it in 6 months!