On my second group hike with the Meetup, I chose to “Hike With Mike!” in Timberland Park off of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Timberland Park is relatively new (opened in 2014) and I had never been before, so I decided it might be best to go for the group hike. Little did I know, Hiking with Mike would be such an interesting experience…
There were several of us that signed up, but only 3 of us ended up showing up – myself, an older gentleman, and Mike’s wife. The hike started off at the visitor’s center and headed down the ADA accessible trail before we headed onto the Ridge Loops.
Timberland Park is different because it’s so new. The trails are still being developed and marked, bridges are being constructed, etc. Mike is one of the part-time rangers in the park and he’s the genius behind developing/marking the trails. Throughout the hike, he would explain to us how and why he chose to take the trails one direction instead of another, as well as the actual techniques they used to physically construct the trails so they won’t erode away in the rain.
Mike even took us down a wildflower trail that’s still in the making. I’ve been hiking for years – most of my life – and I’ve never been allowed to traverse a trail under constructions. It was such a great experience being able to see the process, even though we were all sliding all over the place trying to get our footing 🙂
The trails that are complete are no joke. Aside from the ADA accessible trail, the existing trails are on the moderate side, but there are no bridges or handrails in place yet, and and trail goes all over the ridge, including up and down. Mike was flying along the trails, but those of us who weren’t as familiar with them had to take our time navigating.