A Hot Sultry Day Hiking Fort Campbell

A few days ago, I took the opportunity to spend a couple of hours hiking the horse trails on Ft. Campbell. I had went once before and thought it was a nice hike however I didn’t go very far in. It was a steamy hot Saturday afternoon, and Carrie was about to lay Levi down for a nap so I decided I would go take a hike.

Before I left, I looked to see if there were any maps that might help give me an idea where the trails go but I couldn’t find any online. When I left, I went over to the horse stables and they told me that I had to go to the MWR offices and check. Unfortunately, I arrived at 1:12 in the afternoon. They take their lunch between 1:00 and 1:30. I wasn’t about to wait around figuring there’s no such thing as trail maps for the horse trails so I left to begin my time in the woods.

I put my pack on, and off into the woods I went. The green grass was popping with color and the trees kept the breeze from blowing through too much. I started off down an old ATV trail that horses use before I found a small trail to get on. I don’t really like hiking the wide trails motorized vehicles can use. On Ft. Campbell, they tend to stay close to the road so the only way to get deep in the woods is get off and head down the narrow trails.

After some quiet walking I heard some voices in the woods. I decided to stop and see if they were coming towards me and sure enough after a couple of minutes of listening, a line of horse riders were making their way down the trail towards me. The guide’s horse didn’t see me standing there. When he finally noticed me it startled him and he about reared on the horse rider. I knew it would do that and sure enough it did. I just stood there and didn’t say anything hoping I wouldn’t startle it anymore. After it gained its composure, we spoke and everyone was real nice as they passed by. I figured they were wondering why in the world some guy would be that far out with such a heavy pack on a hot day. Poor crazy sap they probably thought.

After they passed I followed them for about fifty feet before they turned and I saw the trail head down a steep embankment. I thought to myself now that’s where I want to go. I headed down the rocky trail and found a log to sit on at the bottom of the hill. I decided to sit there and rest for a moment.

I prayed!

I met with God for quite some time. It was good to talk with Him and the only intruder I had on my conversation was a squirrel about ten feet away. It doesn’t get more peaceful than that. I drank some water and just rested and listened to the wind touch the trees, watch branches fall, be entertained by the lonely squirrel prancing around, and wondering if there were anyone around besides me and God.

After I decided to move on, I followed the trail on till I saw a sign that said Creek Trail. I circled around on the Creek Trail where lo and behold, there was a creek. I stood by the creek for a moment soaking in the peaceful trickling sound it was creating. About the time I saw him, a buck snorted at me and took off. I could hear him snorting even further in the woods as he moved slowly away from me.

I continued on the trail and decided to head back up the hill I came down. I needed a little bit of familiarity plus it was getting near time to be heading back to the truck. Instead of following back the same way, I had a little time so I took the trail left back towards Lake Taal. A few yards down, I jumped a doe and her fawn. The fawn was so beautiful. I can’t say I have ever seen one that close in the wild. She also snorted at me then they both took off.

I could see the lake through the trees but somehow I got off track and eventually came out of the woods a mile down from the road where my truck was. I hiked the main road a little ways till I could see the road I parked on. Like always my feet started yelling at me so I got off the road and walked through the woods looking for the trail to get back on. Not knowing where I got back on the trail at, I checked my compass and headed west. I knew when I got out of my truck I headed east so west had to eventually get me back. No maps!

I eventually found some familiar ground and was able to start heading back to the truck. I ran across an old cemetery. One of the things I love about hiking is walking up on historical places. I would love to know the story behind those buried here and how the cemetery has sustained being here.

As I was coming out of the woods about twenty yards from my truck I again saw that same doe and fawn. She snorted and they both took off across the road towards the horse stables. I noticed she stopped and so I knelt down to see her through the trees better. We stared at each other for about a minute till she snorted again… and again… and again. I’m not sure what I did to her but she didn’t like me.

I really like hiking back on Ft. Campbell.There’s a lot of trails back in there. I just need a map or I may have to learn how to navigate with a compass and a topo map. However the case, it was a real nice hike.

 

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