"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roaming along the Natchez Trace

I entered the Natchez Trace at its northern terminus just south of Nashville. If you travel the Trace in early morning or late afternoon, you are sure to see some deer or turkey. We saw both. (These are the turkey.)
I spent a few days at the free National Park campground near the Meriwether Lewis historical site.
While there Roe and I hiked several but not all of their trails. One was on a portion of the old Trace road.
Another hike took us down into Dyestone Hollow.
And along Little Swan Creek at the bottom. At one point the trail crosses the creek without benefit of a footbridge.
Of course if you go down into a hollow, eventually you have to climb back out of it.
This trail ends at the Meriwether Lewis historical site. It is the location of his mysterious death and of his grave.
Anyone interested in Meriwether Lewis and the events surrounding his death should really visit the museum at nearby Howenwald which has a fascinating collection of letters, documents and first hand accounts. Also the original stones of this monument are kept there, as they were made of too porous stone to withstand the weather here.
I've decided that if Roe and I keep up this hiking regimen, we may end up as mere shadows of our former selves.

Bandit had a visitor in his screen enclosure while we were here. I really need to remember to close the zippered door at night.
It was just a harmless garter snake, but he wanted me to think he was a poisonous rattler or something. He did not appreciate me "flipping" him out of Bandit's tent.
Eventually we continued south on the Parkway. I decided not to try to see everything, but chose 3 places to stop on the day's route. Each had a short hiking trail I thought Roe and I would enjoy.
The first was Sweetwater Branch where there is a freshwater spring.
Roe decided to test it. He liked it so much he found several more places along our walk to access the water and taste it again.
There were interpretive signs along the way about the geology and plantlife, but none described this hot pink seed pod with the bright red seeds. Does anybody know what it is?
Back on the Trace the sky was blue, and the goldenrod was...well, living up to its name.
Rock Spring turned out to be my favorite of the day.
THis sign says that hummingbirds use this spring in their migration route.
Some of the different varieties of hummingbirds that might be here...besides the Ruby-throated.
Of course I didn't really expect to see any hummingbirds. My friend Birdie said in her blog they had all arrived in Texas already on their way to their wintering grounds, so figured they'd be gone from here.
But hummingbirds weren't the only jewels to be found on this trail. The jewelweed was sparkling with diamonds...covered with crystalline droplets of dew.
The trail crosses over Colbert Creek on these stepping stones.
When we got to the spring, we sat on the handy bench and waited and watched.
And sure enough they came....hummingbirds...lots of them. Darting in and out of the flowers along the shore, and buzzing over water in frantic pursuit,
And zipping up to the branches above to perch, where I finally got these photos of one.
I have no idea what kind. If it's not a female Ruby-throated, then my best guess is a female Black-chinned Hummingbird. I hope Birdie will chime in with her expertise. Or another of you birders out there. Metallic greenish on the back. Pretty much white on the front.
I'm not sure if these flying hummers are the same kind or not.
They are quick little things....hard to get a focused picture.
Our last stop was a short walk to Buzzard Roost Spring. The water once supplied a nearby stand on the Old Trace.
Roe thought he should try it for comparison's sake.
Back on the road we passed a cotton field. We must be back in the South.
We'll be enjoying a few relaxing days at our site on Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Obey River, TN

Traveling through KY to TN past old barns again. This one has a turkey mural.

My site at Obey River, a Corps of Engineers campground on Dale Hollow lake.
Roe sees the ducks.
A killdeer at water's edge.
An evening kayak ride.
My campsite from the water.
Are you coming to bed?
Mallard taking flight
And in the morning, another beautiful day to kayak.
Roe becomes very alert when we approach a shoreline.
A lot of motorboats on the water on Saturday. Some slow down to minimize wake, some don't.
A sign in town said this is the houseboat capital of the world. Must be true.
Tomorrow we move on.

Grayson Lake, KY

Out of character, I know, but I drove the Interstate a ways, a little break from the curvy country roads I've been on.
 At least until I got off....
And into Kentucky.
 It appears to be fashionable to paint images on barns around here.
 I arrived at Grayson Lake State Park in a heavy rainstorm, and took the closest campsite near the bath house.
 Later the rain stopped and Roe and I took advantage of it to hike the trail to the lake.
 We chose the shorter .8 mile Beech-Hemlock trail to the lake.
Named for the two types of trees that are predominant along the way.
Beech tree leaves and hemlock needles litter the path.
You should have seen Roe jump and back up when he ran into these guys.
 They would be well camouflaged in these leaves wouldn't they?
 Our first glimpse of Grayson Lake. The sides are very steep.
 So the trail is mostly high above it.
 Tree over rock.
 The trail description says to observe the sandstone rock formations...
 like "lizard head" rock, but it didn't say where exactly that particular rock is found. So every rock there after began to look like it could be "lizard head" rock. Lizard head #1:
 Lizard head # 2: (You can all vote to see which one you think it is, or if I found it at all.)
 We saw 3 deer in all...this doe,
 and this buck were traveling together. The third was just a tail bounding away.
 The trail crossed this stream over a little wooden bridge.
 Lizard head rock #3
 Lizard head rock # 4
 Lizard head rock #5
So, which one do you think was "lizard head rock"? Or is it still to be discovered?