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I Must Be Seeing Things

natchez trace, mississippi

It winks at me. On the horizon. Is that what I think it is?

No.

It’s a blasted tree limb.

A survey stake.

Reflectors to mark an overpass. Or a culvert.

It’s everything but the next mile marker. My mind tricks my eyes into seeing things. And in the last five miles, the thing I most want to see is the mile marker that announces

THE END.

On Tuesday, I was a third of the way to Nashville. Lots of blisters, but I’m pushing on with new hiking sandals and two epsom salt foot soaks a day.

The Natchez Trace will NOT lick me.

Click here to see the best photos from Day 12 of my Natchez Trace walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

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And here’s today’s Reader Question:

48 Comments Post a comment
  1. You cannot and will not be licked. I would send text you a positive thought today, but I forgot my phone so this will have to do. 15 days.

    March 13, 2014
    • I’m counting the days, Lisa. 🙂 I can’t wait to meet you.

      March 13, 2014
  2. So impressed by your walk, Andra. What an amazing journey!

    March 13, 2014
    • Amidst all the trials, I had an amazing moment today. I almost took a nap in a field of daffodils.

      March 13, 2014
  3. Cypress swamp is beautiful in daylight. But I’d be scared to be there at night. I bet you heard lots of ghosts talking that day!

    March 13, 2014
    • I think swamps are really beautiful places, but you’re right. I don’t know that I’d venture into one at night.

      March 13, 2014
  4. Keep going. You will conquer this thing!!!

    March 13, 2014
  5. I love cypress swamps. They are beautiful, scary, and peaceful all at the same time. Especially interesting when you see shiny pairs of eyes slowly float to the surface to watch you go by.

    Keep on Truckin’!!

    March 13, 2014
    • I went to the edge to take a picture of the cypress knees, and I was extra careful of eyes……..

      March 13, 2014
  6. Alligators? Yeah well I think I will avoid the swamps for now. maybe sometime later.

    March 13, 2014
    • They’re not usually interested in you, John………..unless you get in the water.

      March 13, 2014
      • I had one chase me on the 12th hole at the PGA course in West Palm. The only water I was in that day was manufactured by me.

        March 13, 2014
  7. tarakianwarrior #

    What was the smell like? And, I’m not so sure I’d turn my back to that swamp if I thought an alligator might be lurking.

    March 13, 2014
    • I don’t really think swamps smell……….the cypress trees produce tannins that stain the water black.

      March 13, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        Wow – and here I’ve thought there would be a musty, boggy smell. Thanks Andra.

        March 14, 2014
  8. Good stuff!

    March 13, 2014
  9. Every once in a while you’ll find an alligator this far up. Often they just float about in the water and not bother anything… until they do.

    March 13, 2014
    • Fascinating. I wouldn’t have thought they’d be in Ohio. I’d never look for one there. That’s when they’d get me. 🙂

      March 13, 2014
      • To be fair, it’s a rare occurrence. It makes the news every now and then.

        March 13, 2014
  10. Keep going, baby!!

    March 13, 2014
  11. Keep on trucking! Thinking about you.

    March 13, 2014
  12. I love cypress swamps, especially to canoe in. They have almost a cathedral quality to them. Here’s a question since you’re standing next to a swamp: Any problems with biting bugs yet? Mosquitoes love me which is why I don’t love where I live … mosquitoes year-round. In winter, they are just easier to swat, but they don’t let up.

    March 13, 2014
    • That’s an excellent description, Marie. They are cathedral-like. I’ll answer your question with a video.

      March 13, 2014
  13. “Hang in there! Etc!” (insert cliche inspirational thought here). But seriously, I know you probably don’t feel it right now, darling, but you’re amazing.

    March 13, 2014
    • I didn’t feel very amazing this morning, but I do now (because I’m done. Probably my hardest day yet.)

      March 13, 2014
  14. I’ve never seen a cypress swamp but after watching your video and reading the comments above it sounds like something to add to my list. 🙂

    March 13, 2014
    • Lisa, you would LOVE to photograph a swamp. The trees are majestic, and the light and shadow is really wonderful.

      March 13, 2014
  15. Nothing but a stroll, keep pushing through.

    March 13, 2014
    • I actually told myself that at one point today, Jon. I tried to imagine your voice. 🙂

      March 13, 2014
  16. you are a warrior, andra. i am in awe.

    March 13, 2014
  17. Keep on keeping on, Andra. You have my admiration – but, not my read of Emmaline’s interview. Had to stop as I have about 30 pages left, so, will go back to the interview when I’m done. What fun!

    March 13, 2014
  18. Lance #

    go andra go

    March 13, 2014
  19. I went for my own walk today after work and I cannot imagine walking 15 miles a day, the entire length of the Trace. You are awesome, Andra. Rah! Rah!

    March 13, 2014
  20. Wowser! Great shot of the cypress swamp. I always get crocs and alligators mixed up! Keep on keepin’ on! You’re doing great! Love the photos.

    March 13, 2014
  21. Tamie #

    Andra- Madison (my runner child) says that Injinji Toe Socks are used by ultra runners and are her absolute fav to prevent blisters. They also come in a compression variety which she says are great. If you don’t like the toe sock variety, she also recommends Feetures Elite. She says to give the Injinji a try even if they sound weird. Saving people from blisters- one at a time.

    March 13, 2014
    • I saw your comment and thought I would add in my experience.
      I hiked the 900km Bruce Trail last year and had a terrible time with blisters which I tend to get under and between my toes. I switched to Injinji toe socks at the recommendation of my local running store and they were great. I had serious reservations about fabric between my toes but quite frankly, the sensation becomes transparent very quickly.
      I too would definitely recommend them.

      March 14, 2014
  22. Oh those poor blistered feet! You’re going to deserve a week at a spa when this is behind you! The swamp is what I imagine when I think of the Trace when Merry and Em would have traveled! It’s pretty amazing! You’re doing great and here you are at another weekend. Whew!

    March 13, 2014
  23. I said so yesterday on G+, but Andra, you are a force. An absolute force.

    March 14, 2014
  24. You are such an inspiration.

    March 14, 2014
  25. I must be NOT seeing things because I missed this post ’til now. Well, between the stuff I’m doing for the site and a quickie freelance job (yay!), I got busy and missed this update. You know, by the time you finish this walk, MTM won’t recognize you. Well except for the squeaky sound your feet will make because you’re walking in inflatable slippers while your feel heal up.

    On the other hand, watch out for temptation tomorrow, you:

    Tomorrow you’ll hear from behind an old tree
    a raspy voice that makes you shiver
    Yet, amble closer you will despite
    your spine starting to quiver

    Yes, it’s Old Nick looking to trade
    a writer’s soul for some nice breaks
    “How ’bout a lake of sweet tea dear,
    or a pair of roller skates?”

    (Or something like that…)

    March 15, 2014
  26. Jen #

    Hang in there Andra. You’re amazing!

    March 18, 2014

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