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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bicycle Tour via Natchez Trace Parkway: Pharr Mounds to Witch Dance

25 miles
still a work in progress

Our evening's sleep from Friday night to Saturday morning was accompanied by a chorus of owls. I don't know what type of owls except that they were verbal owls with something to say, and they were persistent. It was a cold night for my experience (probably 40F) but the sleeping bag with a thermal pad and a wool layer made for a very comfortable night's sleep.

In the morning our neighbors from the next campground came over to say hello and we were pleased to offer them a cup of coffee, they were three Australian cyclists on Day45 of their adventure having started at the LAX airport. They had ridden across the Southern Tier Route to New Orleans and were now joining the Natchez Trace Parkway to the Underground Railroad Bike Route.

They were fascinating people and experienced travelers, Jose and Linda were married and their friend Geoff. All were very efficiently outfitted; they'd been doing this for a while. I was pleased to introduce them to the American healthfood known as Pop Tarts. Very nice folks.

Joined the trail at the Pharr Mounds, which were very impressive and the placards explained our best contemporary understanding of them.

There is a general guidance to avoid the area around Tupelo Monday to Friday, 0700 to 0830 and again from 1530 to 1800 during the local rush hours but we were riding on a Saturday and it wasn't bad at all. There's a nice visitor's center in Tupelo, wifi and rest rooms and trail info and I believe there's a primitive bicyclist campsite there as well.

We made camp at the Witch Dance campground, another very nice NPS campground. ("oh, if they only had a shower in the restrooms!") We met another bicyclist who was already in the camp (Fons) and then later another cyclist arrived to set up camp (Roxy). This campground was entertained by a pair of vocal roosters on the adjacent property, who may (or may not) have been commissioned by a landowner who wasn't wild about having a campground next door.

This was the first night I got to use my solar shower (in conjunction with the JetBoil to heat water) and it wasn't bad. It wasn't a hotel shower, but it wasn't bad.

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