Hiking the Old Trace, Mississippi

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

I hiked a 3-mile section of the Old Trace, the actual foot trail used by merchants in the 1700’s and 1800’s, starting at the Potkopinu Trailhead in southern Mississippi.  At this point the path is un-maintained and strewn with deadfalls and other forest debris throughout its length.  Round trip, it is one of the toughest 6-mile hikes I’ve ever completed.  The experience is really one of bushwhacking overland rather than trail hiking.

Route finding is easy because the old trace has sunk an 8- to 20-foot depression through the forest over the years in the Mississippi mud.  For those who like reassurance, the Park Service has painted hand-sized strips of orange and yellow blaze every half mile or so on the trees.  It was a hot, humid walk through a dense green canopy with one stream crossing.  Observed wildlife included a palm-sized green and brown spotted frog, several tadpoles, and a mystery animal that ran into the brush in a blur of speed.  It was most likely an armadillo, opossum, or a cross between the two.  A local told me that the two species interbreed, and some strange looking animals can be found in the area.

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

Hiking the Old Trace, Southern Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

I never saw any other hikers during the 4+ hours that I was out there.  It took me 2 hours to reach the turnaround point at 3 miles, the northern trailhead.  The walk back to the car was somewhat faster.  I picked up several ticks on my knee and torso, the first time I have ever gotten ticks anywhere.  I respect the old Kaintucks who used to walk this trail for over 400 miles.

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About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

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