My goal today was hitting the town of Kosciusko, where Oprah Winfrey was born. But first, let’s talk about the night. The Grand Marais ladies all went into their tents around 8:30, I think. I was the last one up and outside, but got into my tent by 9 p.m. and did some writing on my laptop. It was lights out by 9:30 p.m. Since we’d gotten to bed so late last night due to the motorcyclist encounter, I figured I’d fall asleep right away. WRONG.
Our camp seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. But clearly, it was not. There were so many planes flying overhead. Really? During COVID, and from Jackson, Miss.? Perhaps there’s a military facility nearby. At one point, it seemed like overnight construction was going on, or some semis were revving their engines for 30 minutes. Then I heard some strange animal cross our spacious campsite. It sounded like half-mammal, half-avian. I had no idea what animal it was, but was just glad it kept moving away from me.
Heading Out Toward Kosciusko
The next morning, the (more experienced) ladies said the animal was likely a fox; they sometimes make very odd sounds. Ann, who was driving their Jeep support vehicle this morning, followed me to Kosciusko, where I dropped my car, then shuttled me back to Red Dog Road to start my hike.
I’d planned to camp tonight at a bike campsite right in Kosciusko. Tomorrow I had motel reservations at the EconoLodge. But the weather forecast called for thunderstorms starting around 1 a.m. The EconoLodge didn’t have room for me for two nights, so I switched to America Best Value Inn for two nights. I enjoy camping, but not in rain!
The Hike to Kosciusko
Today’s hike was so-so. The morning was cool (60s F. [15.5 C.]) and shady. Perfect! But the temps got up to the mid 80s F. (26.7 C.) and there was a lot of sun. Boo! My feet are also just tired. I think I have to realize that as I approach 60, I have to scale back my itineraries. Rats.
There weren’t any/many interpretive sites, so I just enjoyed the wildflowers and some occasional cypress swamp areas. There were a few blow-down spots that, once again, made me appreciate what our ancestors went through on this trail 200 years ago. Honestly, I can’t imagine how they did it. The highlight was meeting a man a little older than me, who is cycling the parkway on a recumbent bike. It’s blinged-out with a flag and pinwheel-type thing. Love it when people have fun!
Settling In at the Motel
I reached town before 5 p.m., a coup of sorts. America Best Value Inn is old but clean. I really appreciated my shower and a soak in Epsom salts. I also ate my first dehydrated pasta. It was pretty good, but I used too much water. Oh, well. I’m learning!
Natchez Trace Miles Today: 20 (32.2 km)
NT Miles Overall: 162.9 (262.2 km)
NT Miles To Go: 281.1 (452.4 km)
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A good book on the Natchez Trace is Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip, a Moon guide by Meg Littman that includes info on the Trace.
Book your room at America Best Value Inn here!