So the boy and I have been planning a quick overnighter down to Rocky Springs on the Natchez Trace just under an hour from our home by car south of Clinton, MS for some time now.
To those who don't know, the Natchez Trace is a true gem of a national park area. It's a roadway running from Natchez, MS at the southern end to just short of Nashville, TN at the northern end. In between is some of the most scenic driving you'll get (certainly in the state of MS). I have long had a love affair with "The Trace" most of my life and never tire of driving any part of it. There is a section just down the street from my home that has an exit just shy of the company I work for. I've driven it too many times to count and it never gets old. I find that when I need to destress it's good for 20 - 30 minutes of beauty, a deer or 30 (literally have driven this 15 miles stretch and seen 40+ deer all along the road), turkey and the occasional coyote.
So it was on this trip that we took south to Rocky Springs which is a National Scenic Trail.
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I checked the boy out of school early, which is always a plus when the boy is off for an adventure with Dad and we took to the hard woods of this truly beautiful place.
The trail has two trailheads (a southern and northern option) and a camp area roughly two thirds south of the northern entry. The camp area has about 22 sites that will handle anything from primitive camping to RVs of any size. When we got there it was about half full with about two thirds of the folks there in an RV of some configuration. There was a boy scout troop from Baton Rouge, LA though we never saw any of them.
We scouted the remaining sites and settled on one we liked best for hanging, parked and decided to hike first and set up later.
The trails are of no real physical challenge but they are scenic and peaceful none the less. A huge storm came through our area the night before and dropped the temperatures and we saw a lot of blowdowns everywhere.
This was an old one but it was awestricking none the less.
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Just a taste of one trail. This is what I love about this part of my world and hiking in general. The dappled light, the sound of the wind in the trees and the calls of the wildlife. This is decompression at its finest.
Another part of the Port Gibson part of the trail. These concrete pilings afford a crossing. Just past that bit of the sandbar is six foot gap to get to the far bank. I made but the boy managed to get his foot profoundly wet trying to jump it. Once at the top of the bank he discovered we could have walked along the sand bar and walked up the bank some thirty feet further down stream. Oh well. It was way more fun jumping the stream.
The track from the doe that crossed our trail further in. I heard her as she jumped a deadfall to my right. Saw her and got the boys attention on her as she crossed the path some twenty feet in front of us and took a fifteen foot embankment in a couple bounds. As she went over the ridge, tail flying high she glanced back at us as if to say, "Have fun boys, you won't see me again."
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Our campsite. The boy is on the left in the HH Exped with his new Hex rain fly compliments of HF member Chuck. Thanks again Chuck for such a great deal on the Hex, the quick service and the friendly call. I'm on the right in the HH Expl Classic with Hex rain fly
One of the funniest parts was the lady from the site south of us who had walked by I know three or four times while we were setting up. She comes by yet again and asks, "Are you gonna sleep in those hammocks tonight? I say, "Yes ma'am". "You're gonna freeze to death you know that. It's going to be in the 30's tonight." As if to say "You must be crazy". I explained how we were set up and that we had been in the thirties before but she just shook her head and walked away. I think I'm gonna be laughing about that for a week.
Note the tree to the right.
The boy enjoyed crawling all over this tree at camp.
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Water boiling on the Emberlit. This was too easy to use and we had a great time cooking on it.
That boy loves some Chicken and Rice.
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The Emberlit even served well to make a Smore or EIGHT
All in all it was an excellent trip. We hiked about 5-6 miles, ate good and had a couple moments we will not soon forget. Thoroughly enjoyed each others company and slept like logs all night...down to a new personal record of 35*.
The highest praise came from my son who kept saying, "This is awesome" and "This is better than any campout I've done with any of my friends." That alone will keep me smiling for a month...till be go back again in May.