The Place With No Name



Black Creek Trail, DeSoto National Forest, Mississippi



This was a 'training' trip for Bob.  If you aren't familiar with his progress so far, you might want to go read Bob's journal first.

I woke up and rolled out of my hammock at about 4:00 A.M. and checked the temperature.  61.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  I rolled back into my hammock and went back to sleep.  I wasn't using a sleeping bag: I was using a NeatSheet, and despite being nude, I was quite comfortable.

I finally got up at about 8:00 AM and put my clothes on.  Bob got up then too, looking rather tired, and we started to pack up the camp.  Bob tried out my hammock, and declared, "I could live like this..."  Later he admitted that he hadn't had a very good night on the ground.  

We had breakfast, which for me was left over cheese noodles and for Bob was gorp.  (Picture: Bob at breakfast.)  We rolled up camp the rest of the way, scattered our fire circle, made sure it was all cold, and replaced the leaves we had removed the night before.  Once we were done, you almost couldn't tell we had been there.  We hiked back out on the trail, since Bob wasn't very keen on bushwhacking the shortcut I had plotted.    

We hiked our way back to Janice Landing, and met some folks out for the weekend.  We took a lunch break, deciding to avoid the heat of the day.  We wound up taking a much longer break than I expected, since Bob had a nice long nap on one of the picnic tables.  While he was napping, I took a break and then explored a few areas around the landing and took a few pictures.  (Picture: A VERY green spider hitches a ride on my hiking pole.)  At about 2:00, Bob got up and we packed up, got in the truck, and drove back down to the trailhead to avoid the road walk.  We wanted to find a decent camp site close to the truck so that we could leave early the next morning to get back to our families.  At the trailhead we met a nice couple who had found a rather rare Black Pine Snake that had been run over by a car.  They collected it with the intention of reporting it to the university where they keep track of such critters.  (Picture:  Black Pine Snake.  This is the only snake we saw the whole trip, and it was unfortunately dead...)  Rather than enter Black Creek Wilderness, we decided to walk north on the trail.  This was the decision that sort of killed the rest of the trip.  Had we gone south again and reentered the Wilderness, we would have been much happier.

Bob had been rather desperate all day for a cup of coffee, and I was rather desperate for a cheeseburger. This is something that used to happen to me from time to time, but this time was really bad - probably because I hadn't been out in so long.  The trail was the trail, but it was nothing like the map we had bought from the Forest Service Ranger Station.  I have seen maps that were a little off before, but this was just BAD.  The scale was too large, for one, and none of the roads or other terrain features matched the map at all.  It was worthless.  This meant that the previous planning that had been based on the map was also worthless.  We spent a lot of time looking for a decent camp site and found none.  I could have pitched my hammock almost anywhere, but we needed a decent place to set Bob's tarp.  I also wanted to camp in a place that would allow us access to the water so that we could fill our bottles and the shower.  I became inexcusably frustrated as time went on, until I finally decided to take a break and reassess our situation.  We stopped and sat on a rather large pine tree that had blown down.  As I considered our options and had a snack, Bob's water bottle fell off the back of the log.  He started to reach for it.  "Stop!", I said.  He looked at me and kept reaching for it, so I yelled "STOP!" He kept reaching, so I YELLED at him. He stopped. "WHAT!?!", he demanded. "NEVER stick your hand anywhere that you can't see.  How do you know there isn't a snake on the other side of this log?"  He turned white, got up, and walked around the log to retrieve his water bottle.  We were going to loose daylight soon, so we needed to either find a campsite or hike back to the truck.  Bob was lobbying to go into town and get a motel room, which only frustrated me further.  We walked back out to the truck and I decided to camp at Janice Landing at one of the campsites.  "Just think of it as a shelter stop.", I told Bob.  We made dinner, had a shower, and turned in.  

Unfortunately, there were other people in the campground that night.  Playing music.  Loud music.  Vulgar music...  This didn't bother me, and I fell quickly to sleep and slept fitfully all night.  It was one of those days that I was just glad it was over...  Looking back on it, it was a good experience for Bob, since he will definitely experience days like that on the trail.





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