Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Natchez Trace to Nashville

Our last few days have been spent hiking the trails at David Crockett State Park, resting and reading and relaxing at cour campsite, and driving the last seventy miles of the Trace into Nashville. All good days and all necessary parts of our journey.
We hiked along the bike/pedestrian trail that goes along the lake, behind the amphitheater and through the woods. Missing the first part we walked the road and then cut across the grass to the asphalt trail. The road had been pretty but birdless, however that changed as soon as we entered the thick forest.
The sound of the mowers quieted,(I don't understand why a park service spends its money mowing grass that wildlife could eat and inhabit?), and we were quickly greeted by two tufted titmouse. They actually came quite close and we could easily see their crested feathers atop their head. It made the lgb's,(little grey birds), easy to id and they were a new species for us.
Continuing along the trail we were in a tunnel of towering yellow popular and tall loblolly pine. Further on Renita spotted a special treat, a summer tanager. Its rosy red head confused us at first as we thought it was a cardinal but after getting a good look we correctly identified the bird.
The next day was also clear and windless. We lazed around the camp and I got hooked reading the book Desert Solitude by Edward Abbey. The campers next to us had noisy children, they had even brought the little girls electric car but it ran our of juice and I quickly tuned out their noise. Remembering Arches National Park and last years travels made me realize I missed the desert.
The next day was also bright and clear and we decided to run to Nashville and return on the last leg of the Trace. Stopping first at REI, we barely avoided the temptation of purchasing new mountain bikes, just barely. We got lost and then finally found the Grand Ole Opry. From there we went to Camping World, where I shook my head at their overpriced dicor tape.
Trying to find the entrance to the Trace, we got confused again asking for help by a guard at a gated community. He lied and sent us the wrong way, or maybe didn't know and we quickly realized we were on the wrong compass heading. Turning around we found our route and turned into the Trace.
The road at first was slower. Curve after curve wound us along ridge tops until we came to the bridge pictured above. Further on we stopped at Fall Hollow where we clowned around and under the waterfalls. We met am Amish girl, who had just been under the falls, smelling a purple wildflower. I felt like we had intruded on her special moment and didn't take her picture.
Continuing on we made our last stop of the day at the Meriweather Grave site, where the monument Broken Arrow marks his dust. We felt we had come full circle as we had been to his winter camp on the west coast and had traveled along the Missouri river, so many times(By the way we checked out the campground there and its dry camping heaven, for us and a definite place for us on our next Trace trip).
Returning home, Molly greeted us at the door and then frantically ran to the steps, telling us it was time for a walk and NOW! After making our circuit and making the dog happy we ate leftovers and called it a day. Clear skies.

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