So… the joys of CG(crazy guy) at Meriwether Lewis Campground behind us, we can carry onward on our journey. I’m terribly afraid to admit this, but since this trip was taken last September and I’ve waited so long to blog about it, that my recollection won’t be nearly as thorough or useful as it could have been.
Those of you who follow our page on FB know that we were in the midst of trying to buy a house at that time. Which we did… then promptly I fell under the “owner of two households” spell which results in lack of sleep, little to no free money, little or less time to blog, and barely any time to hike. So what ensued was a sad gap in posting, and less posting about hiking and camping. But we love our new (old) house immensely and the free time I did have I decided to spend it on the back porch, walking the dog, and hanging out with my husband. But I am making more of an effort to write. So here I am… efforting.. let’s see how this goes. 😀 Be kind on my old memory. There have been a lot of moving trucks and extra house payments between then and now.
This leg of our journey on day 2 spanned approximately 67 miles (not including any accidental pullouts onto the parkway the wrong way- oh it happens… you just wait and see, or side trips or on purpose back tracking to see something else etc.)
Here are some of the many points of interest between MLCampground and Colberts Ferry. I’m just listing the ones that I remember and stuck out to me.
– Metal Ford 382.2 I met the guy who obviously slept in his van around the Metal Ford parking lot area. He reminded me of some of the people I met on the AT, a reoccurring theme on the Trace. There were some hardcore travelers who were very interesting and rugged and I liked the spice they added to the trail. I didn’t talk to him because I think he was um…er… getting clean behind the van when I pulled up. As a backpacker I totally respect this “get washed up wherever you can” ritual. A travelers gotta do what a travelers gotta do. But he did holler out at me about what a cool looking dog I had. Thank you mister hairy biker looking man in shorts getting clean behind his van. Thank you I say. – Napier Mine 381.8
– Old trace Drive 375.8 This is going to be stunning in the fall! Stunning I tell you! I went to early and too dry and hot to see any color. But still pretty!!
– Glenrock Branch 364.5 I don’t know but I think this is where I met Natchez the cat and the cool rock formations. Please forgive me if I’m putting this in wrong. I promise to blog sooner and better after my next trip!
– Sweetwater Branch 363This is where I saw the deer! Super cool!! I don’t know whether whiskey wanted to eat it or play with it, but it was very very (omg) very hard to keep control of the doog.
– Sunken Trace 350.5 Okay, not the coolest of places to stop, but it IS cool to put your feet in those muddy tracks and imagine. Just close your eyes and imagine. I bought a book about the Trace on my second trip (as yet unreleased blog) and I plan to read it while on my third (and finishing up) trip in a few weeks. Imagine… just imagine…
– TN/AL state line 341.8 Everyone loves a well marked state line. Look! My left boob is in Alabama and my right one is in Tn! Being in two places at once is always cool….
– Rock Spring 330.2Self guided trail along Colbert Creek. Definitely cool and worth a stop. I think this set of steps is a very commonly photographed image of the Trace. You should check it out.
– John Coffee Memorial Bridge 328.6 327.8 My what a long bridge you have! I drove it twice just for the fun of it.
– Colbert Ferry 327.3 Not only are there several places to get out and walk aboot here and explore and ponder, there is a bathroom, a rangers office I’ve never seen open, a bicycles only campsite (I am SURE if you are hiking the Natchez Trace you can use these. Of course you could stealth camp pretty much anywhere too). Drive down to Pickwick lake here. It’s a few minutes to drive down to the water, but every bit worth it. Definitely one of my favorite places in Alabama now. For bird watching, picnicking, relaxing, fishing, and watching the water. Lovely spot. I have more pictures of Whiskey here from our second trip since mom and I had a picnic lunch here to launch our travels. I’ll make sure to post some on the next Trace post!
Wildlife seen on Trace: beaver, turkeys (LOTS), lizards, fish, turtle, lots of deer, an amazing assortment of pretty birds.
Tips: There are lots of maps in weather proof boxes on the trail. So don’t stress like I did about getting one. Just pick one up when you get there. Also get a few extras so if you misplace one or it gets wet your okay.
Stop at every bathroom you see if you are drinking a lot and it is hot and maybe even if you really don’t have to go lol. Because although there are TONS on the trail- when you need one, you won’t have one and you’ll have to potty in the woods. Like me at least on one occasion.
Make it a point to pack your meals to eat on the trace. There are too many beautiful spots not to.
Don’t beat yourself up about not getting out and hiking and walking every inch of the trace at every stop. By the second day I realized there was SO much here and it’s okay to do a slow sign read drive by and head on. Especially if you have a tired hot dog who you should consider- is there water for him to get into on the stops if it is summer or very hot? That will make stopping more appealing to both of you.
Take notes on your map and take pictures of every sign that you get out at. Otherwise when you look back at your pictures you’ll be like “oh now that’s nice.. but where the macaroons are we???” It will mean more if you know where that picture is from 😀
You don’t have to worry about gas for your car too much on this part of the trace. We had only one iffy OMG are we going to make it to a gas station moment and that was on trip two with the mums.
This is a fabulous (and not to far away) way to get in some good in and out hiking and leisurely camping. I highly recommend this to anyone with a weekend to spare with a dog. Your dog will thank you. Be aware of the weather and your dogs susceptibility to it (do thunderstorms freak him out? Can he handle the heat? etc.). Make sure to carry lots of extra food and water for fido to try and prevent him from drinking in the streams. Every time we’ve come back from the Trace Whiskey’s picked up a bug somewhere… so be forewarned.
We give this trace 10 enthusiastic tail thumps out of 10 and highly recommend it. Go see a part of your state you didn’t know existed! Also, if you plan your approach or return right through the florence/decatur area you can pick up some Bob Gibsons BBQ. Now who can argue with that???