Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Due North - The good the Bammy and the Tennesse

relaxing at Rock Springs
As we continue on the Natcheze Trace Parkway , clipping the corner of Alabama there are not many sights in the Alabama portion of The Trace but one stands out in my mind as the most beautiful trail on the parkway. this can only be the trail at rock springs . It bursts with seasonal flowers and butterflies all along a peaceful fast running stream that though cold you'll be hard pressed not to dip your feet in or if your Calhoun strip down to your undies and jump in.
The sun beating down over the picturesque stepping stones as you cross the stream could truly make one believe that inner peace is an attainable goal if you do make this drive you would be a fool to skip rock springs.

We find our selves in need of a battery recharging and internet stop and of course some Alabama BBQ . For these things we head into Florence the closest "on the map" town off the Trace , the ride in is nothing short of stereotypical. so far we have been lucky enough to avoid the southern prejudices we've been warned so vermently about. As we head towards Florence we pass houses that wouldn't look out of place in "houses of a 1000 corpses " or "true detective" one in particular has a severely ominous presence. we slide on by  past
looks nice right?
well looks can be deceiving
miles of open fields. from what we have seen so far the whole state seems to be poorly sign posted. with the help of Verizon wireless and Goggle maps we find our way to the public library, Florence is a southern belle of a town, the library is old and has a prestigious air to it. beside it a pretty little park anointed with an ornate fountain. Though the town may be attractive it's air is of closed minds and no vacancy signs , a place where I am all of a sudden very aware of the color of my skin.
Anxious to put this place in the rear view and with a lead on a good BBQ place we head across town to Dick Howell's BBQ. A tiny shack of a building with it seems only two employees who seem very glad to see us. it bears mentioning that these were the friendliest people we met in Alabama and when they heard what we were doing they seemed genuinely excited to serve us. I ordered the pork rib sandwich Calhoun the pulled pork plate. The menu is small like the restaurant, the whole place smells of the smoking pit out back , over all you feel like your eating in some sort of southern twilight zone kitchen . As far as taste is concerned it is mediocre. mine is somewhat dry and Calhoun's is much better but still somewhat lack luster . When the obviously hard working owner and chef, a man who has to be in his 60s, comes out to sweep the floor and ask how the meal was we can't help but respond with praise.
Had I known what I had in store for me my kindheartedness may have wavered significantly , we blast over the border into Tennessee but shortly after begins a twisting pain in my stomach gives birth to bloating and a desperate need for a bathroom . We are in luck and find a suitable stopping spot with a camp style washroom I spend most of the night in. I have traveled far enough in this world to
they start small at Fall Hollow
know the value of a well equipped med kit my reward is being able to travel by morning .
The reality of being off  the grid so to speak is made more real as a I take a much needed shower under a tree by the river using water collected from a fast moving spring the day before and transferred into the solar shower which has been heating in the morning sun atop the hardwoo. Calhoun cooks some breakfast after which we continue on to our morning walk. the sun beats down on the beautiful scenery and though my stomach still cries for relief in is quelled somewhat by the natural beauty all around us.
By noon time we have made it to Metal Ford. sort of what it sounds like but not at all. This place was once the site of a primitive iron works , iron oar would be floated down the river on barges to be processed here. The river it's self is deep enough to cool off in and free of local snakes that often frequent such places. The water is crystal clear but moving fast, you can imagine how the mixed feelings Meriwether Lewis (the traces most famous explorer ) must have had at finding such a perfect source of fresh water , that he and his party were also forced to ford .

and get bigger!
Never miss a opportunity
for a free shower
Refreshed we move on with our day of much hiking next stop is at fall hollow a trail not for the faint of heart but home to the most elegant system of water falls on The Trace ,Jackson Falls are billed as the biggest and they are also they are equipped with a low intensity board walk for those not up for a bit of creative clambering but we found Fall Hollow well worth it.
Nearing the end of what has been a long a sweaty day for me in particular, we decide on one last trail a three hour loop though 200 feet of elevation called the devils backbone , the under brush is thick and we lose Girlie multiple times along the way until she has to be leashed . We will later find out that we a smack in the middle of the highest concentration of ticks in North America, you would think with all the information we received at some point some one would have mentioned that right ? So if you find your self in this area of rural Tennessee with a canine companion in tow srpay them with repellent and keep them on leash and close and make sure to wear covering clothing and boots your self . It is a spectacular trail though that realy gets across the spectrum of life on this historical parkway.
Tomorrow we head for Nashville
, back in the swaddling embrace of corporate America and maybe BBQ.

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