Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trip detour

     Before I recount my adventures during the previous few days, I have a confession to make.  I stink.  I haven’t seen anyone coughing and gasping for fresh air after I walk by yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s coming.  I’m not sure there’s a lot I can do about it though.  I only have two shirts, but they’re both of the quick drying type, so I should be able to rotate them out.  My washing clothes in the sink plan is going so-so.  I think the main problem is that I’m in 90+ heat most of the time, including at night.  I can get clean, but it’s hard to stay clean for very long.
    Okay, back to the adventure.  Saturday morning, I did a quick hike on a trail near my campsite in Roosevelt State Park and then headed north because I wanted to get to hillier areas sooner.  I got to Wall Doxey State Park at around 6pm which is a much nicer time to arrive at a camping destination than fifteen minutes before dark.  I set my tent up in a grassy area on this long, unoccupied stretch of primitive (no monkeys this time – note to reader: MS Word assumes you mean primate if you misspell primitive) camping spots.
    I drove down to try to find a showering facility and saw a long dock that lead out to a large lake.  I walked out onto the dock, took a few pictures and was finally starting to relax some when I heard this buzzing sound around me.  This happens all the time outdoors, so I ignored it.  The buzzing sound grew louder, and I turned to see a pair of inspects which for some reason gave me cause for alarm (I think it was their size, their aggressiveness and that they seemed to work as a team).  I then felt a slight prick on my arm and realized I was in the wrong place to reflect on my journey and sprinted down the dock.  I only got a couple pricks from what I later determined to be hornets.  I guess it was a good lesson for me to always be on my guard in the outdoors.  I took my first shower of the trip and washed my clothes in the sink (I’m only using two shirts and two shorts for summer clothing).
    The next morning I hiked a trail around the lake a kept a towel over my shoulder for swatting if necessary.  After the hike, I drove west with plans to go to Alabama, and ended up in the city of Corinth.  In my attempt to find a local restaurant, I stumbled up on a place called Huddle House which is apparently a chained clone of Waffle House – pretty much the opposite of the type of place I wanted to end up.  My diet has really done downhill since I’ve started this trip.
    I saw on my Atlas that there was a Civil War Interpretive Center nearby.  I was in the mood for something other than getting chased by hornets, so I stopped in to check it out.  I was only planning to stay there for 20-30 minutes, but I ended up staying there for around 2-3 hours.  Corinth was a strategic military location because it was at the intersection of two major railroads.  The Confederacy stacked up troops there and Union under Grant was preparing an attack from the Northeast, but the Confederacy struck first.  A two day battle began involving tens of thousands of men on both sides (it was one of the first real bloodbaths of the war).  The Confederacy (who had the benefit of surprise) won the first day, but that night the Union got two big waves of reinforcements and the following day they chased the Confederates back to Corinth.
My favorite part of the interpretive center was reading quotes of soldiers, nurses and former slaves.  The former slave quotes really put some perspective on my trip and slowed my pace.  It’s crazy to think that was only 150 years ago.  Makes me wonder what people 150 years from now will think of us.
Because I enjoyed the center so much and because I don’t have an itinerary, I decided to drive into Tennessee to the Shiloh Military Park to see where the battle took place.  The park is huge and there are about 20 different stops on the self guided tour where you can see where different groups of soldiers were at what time during the battle.  It was about 97 degrees out, but I saw almost half the tour on that day.   
     There was a privately owned camp ground a down the road from the park, and I was going to stay there, but as soon as I parked, I was assaulted with by a one man kitten army who would not go away.  Now, I’m as much of a fan of cute little kittens as the next grown man is, but I had a really bad feeling about what would happen when I was inside my mesh backpacking tent and this kitten wanted to get inside.
     I drove down to Pickwick Landing State Park which was only a few miles away and set up my tent at around 9pm.  I decided to only use the mesh part of my tent and not the rain tarp that went over it since it was so hot out.  I was awakened at 5:55am with a light rain which quickly turned into a heavier rain.  I grabbed a few things in my tent and ran to my car.  About half an hour later, I packed up my soaking wet tent into my ice chest and headed back to Shiloh.
     There were several deer out and about in the park that morning.  They were pretty tame too.  I drove within fifteen feet of one.  I saw the rest of the park including the Indian Mounds where a small village used to be around 800 years ago.
     After the park, I decided to keep driving west through Tennessee instead of going through Alabama.  There are some pretty scenic drives in southern Tennessee.  Last night, I made another bad restaurant choice and then set up camp in Tims Ford State Park.  Three things I didn’t like about the park: it cost $18 per night, all the boxes for tents were filled with small sharp rocks (apparently the wrong material was delivered, but was installed anyway) and there’s a sign with a bear on it at the park entrance.  Picture should be coming next post.

2 comments:

K said...

New Orleans isn't the same without you, but I like reading about your brave new world from here. Hornets and kittens and odorific-ness, oh my. Do I need to ship some emergency vegetables?

cmath50 said...

Love Civil Ware sites; Gettysburg's my favorite. Your Tallness repelled by a feral kitten ... great image ;)
cheryl

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