Saturday, May 27, 2006

Longleaf Trace

Another bike trip... though I think this holiday weekend I might get the kayak back in the water. I'll have to do something to exercise the top half instead of the bottom! Dale, Tyler, and I went 22.6 miles on the bike trail in Hattiesburg this morning. I love this "rails to trails" concept, and this appears to be one of the top trails. I will definitely go back and intend to do the whole 42-mile trip (84 round trip) someday.

Tyler was such a trooper!

I've figured out this concept about working up to greater endurance. You go on a long trip, figure out what ails you the most, and purchase some new gadget or equipment to address the problem. At this point I've got the bike, the clipless pedals and shoes, helmet, water pack, the handlebar mount for the Garmin etrex. Waiting on the bike shorts I ordered the other day, and may need another pair of gloves as it seems Tyler is quite attached to mine. My wrists hurt but overall I'm in pretty good shape. Except for getting progressively more high-performance equipment, though, there really is a limited amount of gear that you need to do serious biking, and the same is true for kayaking. Once you're equipped, you just go out and enjoy it.

The Longleaf Trace bike trail is really nice, and today was ideal weather. The right side of the GPS track is the USM campus where the trail begins. The left side is as far as we went today, although the trail continues for another 30 miles. USM students are dispersed right now for summer, so there really weren't many people there - just enough to talk pleasantly to a few, including a UPS driver of 30 years who rides the trail several times a week. He had some good advice such as "you've got to learn the art of figuring out when you're half-tired so you can make it back to where you started" - a concept I'm quite familiar with from kayaking! The trail is mostly woods on both sides all the way, and the hills are extremely gentle grade from its days as a railroad. There are places where you feel you're completely out in the woods. Plenty of birds, a few woodland creatures, and nice scenery. Along one stretch there are about 20 trees with signs identifying what type of trees they are. It's evident that there was plenty of Katrina damage even in this area; there are lots of sections of trees that are pretty torn up. I think they had more tornadoes than we had on the coast. We went to a stop called Epley and talked about going to Summerall next time. I think there is a spot to eat lunch in Sumerall, which would make a nice day trip, though you'd have to remind yourself to keep it light.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! May you have plenty of outdoor adventures, lots of BBQ, and family fun, and remember our fallen heroes... our ancestors, family members, loved ones, neighbors, and friends who fought and died for this country.

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