I headed off Friday morning to Homochitto National Forest. I usually end up heading towards the Clear Spring Recreational area in Mississippi – just west of Bude and east of Meadville. From there it’s easy to take any of the park service roads that run for miles in every direction.
There are several hiking trails in this area, but most are beyond disrepair. For me, this is one of the reasons that I love this spot. You are almost guaranteed to not see another human, or even another car. I’ve never used the actual facilities at Clear Springs, so I can’t comment on them, but the forest surrounding it is completely pristine and enormous. If you’re aren’t experienced in backcountry navigation, using a compass, or being completely alone – then this most certainly isn’t the place for you.
I’ve parked along a road that is labeled 184 on the Homochitto National forest map several times. These roads are pretty passable in a Jeep / truck / 4×4. I am not sure by any means if that is the actual name of the road, just a guideline as there are no signs on these actual “roads”. This time I recorded my coordinates because after the flooding from a few months ago, nothing really looked familiar. I sent this to Cait so that in case I couldn’t get a signal, or I didn’t show up when expected – someone out there would know where I was.
This location is high on a hill, so when you drop in you can pretty easily keep going down, and up and down a bunch of other times towards a sizable creek, depending on recent rains. The first short stretch of the “trail” looks like it was burned out a few years back. After that I couldn’t find a noticeable trail (aside from game trails) for the rest of the trip.
I setup camp on a lookout above the creek. Found a really nice spot out of the way and with some privacy behind a bluff. When I’m in that secluded of a spot, I prefer to set up somewhere protected. I don’t like to feel like something or someone could sneak up on me without me seeing or hearing them first.
Eiko and I spent the rest of the day hiking and exploring. There is a creek you can follow for miles with all types of varying terrain, including small waterfalls. The flooding deposited an enormous amount of very soft sand all around the creek, so I had to be careful getting stuck and losing a shoe.
It’s funny hiking behind a dog with as good of a nose as Eiko has. I would find myself mindlessly following him, and then suddenly realize that as we’re weaving through the forest, he’s been following a game trail the whole time. Trails like these run up and down the creek. I saw traces of wild hogs everywhere. There was hair caught in all the low branches and shrubs, but as usual, I didn’t see a thing. You rarely see them, but after the sun sets, you can certainly hear them.
It ended up getting down into the low 30’s so Eiko slept in the tent with me. Normally he sleeps outside when we camp so he can keep an eye out. This time I didn’t want him to have to be in the wind. I should have been more prepared for the weather than I was, but we made it. Packed up and hiked out at sunrise.
Until next time Mississippi…