Friday, 29 November 2013

In the Footsteps of the Chickasaw Nation

 

We left Tiffin in Red Bay on November 22 with repairs complete and CC in tip top shape. A short drive took us into Mississippi where we set up in a fabulous campsite in Tishomingo State Park. The park is where Dixie and I have been hiking and watching fall take its hold on the woods. Very few leaves remain on the trees but we have an oak decked out in deep red a stone’s throw from our coach.

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We are in the end loop of campsites near the park border so our setting is very tranquil. Our nearest and only neighbour is around the other side of the lake.

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The park is named after Chief Tishomingo of the Chickasaw Nation that inhabited this area for thousands of years. Tishomingo translates as king’s assistant or servant king. As a woodland tribe, it is easy to imagine their survival based on the plentiful fish-filled lakes and rivers, berries, herbs and mushrooms in the woods and deer in the meadows. It is cool to trek pathways stepping in what might have been their actual footsteps. The majority of 21st century Chickasaw Peoples live now in Oklahoma.

Challenges of extreme weather must have been enormous. We have been having our campfires at dusk before the temperatures drop into the teens and then we climb inside our warm motorhome. I have so much respect for those native’ survival techniques! Staying warm must have been an incredible challenge for them.

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We experienced a lot of rain during our first few days in the park and had to schedule our walks between downpours. We did see many small deer perhaps feeling less conspicuous on the gray days. A small flock of Canada Geese, a pair of White-fronted Geese and one Grelag Goose cruise Haynes Lake throughout the day. They are particularly vocal in the early morning. The Grelag has a distinctive gruff honk that would shake anyone out of a deep sleep. My theory is that they are celebrating the fact that they are geese and NOT turkeys in lieu of Thanksgiving lurking around the corner.

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On our many hikes, nature always presents us with new sights. With Chris along on ‘The Outcroppings Trail’, my photos give a better idea of the scale of the cliffs. It’s interesting that among the piles of dead leaves are  two or three hearty plants that refuse to give up their chlorophyll. An oak leaf wears an interesting fungus called a gall. Insects feed on the leaves, forcing a high production of growth hormones that form the gall. Luckily galls on the leaves do not harm the tree’s health. The water trickling water falling softly is beginning to freeze and build small icicle sculptures across the rocks.

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Our time is spent hiking, reading, baking, catching up on some movies, just relaxing without any schedule or appointments to attend to. We have been checking out the forest reflections in the new mirrors and wheels.

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The campground has a cute outdoor chapel and hosts Sunday Services at 8:30 am. Having celebrated our “Turkey Day” in Canada, the American Thanksgiving was a second chance for us to reflect on our bounty and love of friends and family. Although I’m not a religious sort, the outdoor chapel in the woods would be a great spiritual setting in which to celebrate nature and Thanksgiving.

The locals of Alabama and Mississippi are very friendly and welcoming folk. I am not sure if that is related to their religious faith but I have noticed that there seems to be a church of some sort on every corner. To confirm that my observation was not exaggerated, I looked up some statistics. The large-small town of Orangeville where we lived in Ontario has a population of about 11,410. There are forty five places of worship for those residents to choose from. On the other hand, Red Bay Alabama is populated by 3,153 people who have over sixty five churches in town or close by to attend. Wow!

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Here is Chris receiving the eleventh commandment:

“Thou shalt giveth thy dog many bones!”     from the Book of Dixie, Verse 15

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Below is the star of our Thanksgiving Feast. Maybe I’ve consumed too much of it and that is why I am hamming it up!  Sorry!!

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2 comments:

  1. hi y'all!!..love the wheel selfie :)
    ...that perfect dripping waterfall was amazing....would love to be surrounded in alllll that quiet..am watching a garage going up out back...luckily they only work on it weekends...hug yer boys for me!
    xo

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  2. Yes, the quiet is wonderful. It will be quite the contrast to Nashville next week!
    Cheers, Caron

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