Monday, February 8, 2010

A Few Photos from Homochitto National Forest

As I mentioned in my last post, I was heading over to the Homochitto National Forest on Saturday to spend the day hiking.  It was a perfect day to do so, with the high only in the low forties and the sky overcast and gray - which meant we had it all to ourselves and didn't see anyone else on the trails in several hours of walking.

This part of southwest Mississippi has a lot of surprises, mainly the fact that it is so hilly when so much of the state is relatively flat.  Hiking in the Homochitto is series of ups and downs, making it a great workout.  The woods are also different than most parts of Mississippi, in that throughout most of this 189,000-acre national forest, there is an open feeling of spaciousness that encourages off-trail bushwhacking.


Below: Ernest Herndon pauses on a ridge overlooking one of the many deep hollows alongside the trail we hiked.


These areas of hollows usually have more hardwoods, but this national forest does not have the extensive swampy hardwood bottoms found in most parts of Mississippi.


Many of the hollows have small streams, so finding water is never a problem here. 

As clear as it looks, it still should be treated before drinking, of course.  But exploring these small streams among the clay banks, you can sometimes find the springs that are the source as well, and these are safe to drink from as is.



The higher parts of the Homochitto have vast areas of open pine forests as shown below.  It's the kind of place that beckons to be explored by taking a compass heading and just hiking cross-country. 


But if you're more inclined to explore by vehicle, whether four-wheel drive, ATV, dual-sport motorcycle, or mountain bike, the Homochitto, like most national forests, also contains a network of hundreds of miles of lonely, unpaved forest service roads like this:


We were walking fast and talking most of the time as well, so looking for wildlife was not a priority, but even so we walked right up on a young whitetail doe that didn't seem particularly alarmed to see us.  Deer tracks were evident everywhere, especially in the wet bottom areas along the creeks.  The Homochitto offers good hunting for deer, turkey, squirrel and rabbit.  There are also populations of wild hogs, a few black bear and plenty of big eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I spent over a year in the Pascagoula area while in the Navy, and I miss hiking/4-wheeling down those old logging roads, and through the piney woods along the coast. Trees are a wonderous thing to a south Texan....

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  2. Yeah, the woods here are great, and the Pascagoula area even better, especially in the big swamps along the river. But as much as you miss woods, I sometimes long for the open spaces of the West. I'm hoping to get out to some desert and canyon country late spring or early summer.

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