Saturday, July 05, 2008

Part I, Day 14: 080622

We started this morning still without a good map, but we found an excellent site before breakfast as we moved north and west. Legion Lake, Mississippi, has excellent amphipods, fine green slime, and a surprisingly incurious curator. We were not disturbed as we swept the shallows (“No Swimming”) for aquatic critters.

Breakfast acquired, we continued towards Jackson, which our cheesy map lied to us about regarding highway interchanges. Sufficiently annoyed with our craptacular map, we were overjoyed to discover a Pilot truck stop just east of Jackson. Here, we were victorious indeed, and found a Mississippi backcountry map. No map for Alabama, but we’re used to that by now.

In Mississippi, we sampled Clear Creek, which was very muddy and had a distinct mineral-laden scent: later perusal of our good map revealed the source of Clear creek is Mineral Spring. So, the names here are about half right. We also hit the delightfully named Chunky Creek, which didn’t appear particularly solid to me, at least.

Clear Creek, Mississippi. Perhaps not the most accurately-named spot we’ve visited so far.

Back in Alabama, we tried to find a map at the first Pilot truck stop we found. Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and several other retailers are reputed to also sell the good maps we like, but our repeated disappointments at such places mean we don’t even try there, anymore. Sadly, the first Pilot had nothing, forcing us to drive along the interestate to the next Pilot, at Birmingham. There, victory at last was found, allowing us to plan further Alabama collecting today and tomorrow.

Our last site was near sunset, about 8:00 at night, under a highway bridge just outside Jasper, Alabama. I think we frightened away a couple of local teenagers who might have been using the boat ramp area for non-parental-approved purposes.

Under the highway bridge that spans Mulberry Fork, Alabama. It was much darker when I took this picture than it appears: I think my camera compensates for light levels, though it still can do little for my choice of states to visit.

Tomorrow we’ll escape Alabama for good, and proceed as far as we can through Tennessee to Virginia.

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