We’d heard from other cyclists that biking around Jackson on the Trace was “white-knuckle biking” because so many locals use the Trace to get to and from work quickly. There’s one section where a recreational path roughly parallels the Trace, and materials tell you to use that when the traffic is bad. Luckily we were heading out of town at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, so the traffic wasn’t that bad. We could have used the recreational trail, but stayed on the Trace for authenticity’s sake.
I’d planned a day of about 75 miles of biking, which would be the farthest Ed or I had ever biked in one day. (Just the way the available lodging options fell.) Fortunately, there weren’t as many stops along the way as there could have been. The first highlight of the day was hitting mile marker 100 (triple digits!) and then 111 (one-quarter of the way completed!).
Actually, in between those two was the beautiful Ross R. Barnett Reservoir, which is 50 square miles, I believe. There was a pretty overlook, although it was cloudy at this point in the day so the view wasn’t as beautiful as I’m sure it could have been.
Next we came upon one of my favorite stops to date, Cypress Swamp. As its name implies, it’s a cypress swamp. It was just gorgeous (see photo below). A little trail wound around a small portion of the swamp, so we had fun exploring that.
We started getting sprinkles on and off. The road was pretty flat after the reservoir, and we didn’t have many stops, so we figured we should try and knock off the miles in case the rain was going to increase. I think I actually figured out how to draft off another cyclist. I tucked behind Ed, and we just got into this groove and really pounded out the miles.
At one wayside, a mini bus pulled up and it was some folks from SATW, who had come from the travel writers’ conference like we had. They were on a post-conference tour called “Cities Along the Trace,” and they were exploring a handful of cities from Natchez to Tupelo. Fun!
Ed and I reached Kosciusko, our destination, relatively early (3:30). Kosciusko has a great Visitor Center right off the Trace, and we learned all about the great Polish General Tadeuz Kosciuszko (the city modified the spelling) after which the city is named. Kosciuszko was a military genius who helped the colonists beat the British in the Revolutionary War. He also founded West Point or something like that.
That night we stayed at the Maple Terrace Inn, a nice B&B in the heart of downtown, and celebrated our mileage.