October 27, 2011

Riding the Longleaf Trace

By Anna | 3 Comments »

This past weekend I enjoyed the first of hopefully many rides with my father on the Longleaf Trace, a rails to trails project in Mississippi. The trail is 40 miles long, starting in Hattiesburg and ending in Prentiss. We started just outside of Hattiesburg, about 7 miles from the start, due to homecoming at USM, but we still managed to get in 72 miles total.

This was a real feat for my dad. Before this ride his longest was 40 miles, on the flat as a pancake beachfront road in Pensacola. Add to that the fact that he’s only really been riding seriously for about two or three months, and you have yourself a real challenge.  By the end he was hurting, but he made it and was pleased as punch once we got back to my grandparent’s house, showered, ate a pile of food, and hobbled to the loungers to watch the USM game.


The weather couldn’t have been better! There was no wind to speak of, nice sun, and a little bit of a chill to keep us from dripping sweat the entire time. The trail was nicely paved and flat (although poppa would disagree), and the scenery was mostly woods, peppered with open farm land, country homes, and little forgotten towns. Once we made it into Prentiss we were ready for lunch; unfortunately Prentiss isn’t exactly a booming metropolis – the downtown was basically abandoned and empty – but we were lucky enough to find a Subway that met our nutritional needs just fine.


Then it was back the way we came! A little slower sure, but we were still managing to enjoy ourselves. The sign they used to warn of road crossings made me laugh, especially considering most of these were dirt roads through farm land. “BEWARE THE COUPE”!


I was impressed by the amount of people that used the trail. When we drove up that morning there was a marathon finishing up, and we saw a fair few people walking as well as a few dozen riders along the way. Mississippians, as you all well know, are not known for having particularly healthy lifestyles, but the number of people we say made me happy to be a part of an alternative type of southern lifestyle. We still eat our fried chicken and apple pie, sit on the porch with a glass of iced tea telling stories to and about each other, and live not too far removed from the family farm, but we also know the joy that comes from a day full of fresh air and bike riding.

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  1. On October 28th, 2011 Steve A said:

    I’m sorry to say that your dad looks like a spring chicken!

  2. On October 29th, 2011 Townie said:

    My wife and I like to ride the Longleaf Trace. The trees near Hatiesburg are identified by markers near them. We plan to ride more of the Trace this year starting in Epply.

  3. On January 8th, 2012 steve said:

    That’s alright, Alabamians aren’t know for exercise either! Mississippi keeps us from being #50 on the list.

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