Weekend Wheeling: Jackson, Mississippi
I returned to I-55 and headed north, getting off at Lakeland Drive. The drive east from there on the busy highway passed several malls on both sides and the Jackson International Airport on the right. When I saw the sign announcing the start of Rankin County, I started looking for Mill Creek Road on my left. Once spotted, I knew Rankin County High School would be just ahead on the right. After passing the entrance to the school, I found the next dirt road on my right, and crossed over to the other side of the divided highway where I saw a small parking lot. From the lot, I could see where tire tracks led to the east down a sandy double-track.
I unloaded my bike and followed the tracks, which connected to single-track trails entering and reentering the double-track at several points. Where the trails at Forest Hill had been easy to ride, the trails here demanded concentration when riding through openings between trees hardly wide enough for a handlebar. Frequently, these tight passes between trees would be in the middle of a sharp turn that would begin a shortbut steepdrop or climb.
Most of the tracks led to a large, open, low area in the rear of the square-mile tract. In a few places, I could tell that motorcycles were still using this area. I stopped and studied this treeless stretchwhere mounds of hard, tan-colored clay rose like miniature mountainsand assumed that this must be what the trail is named for.
I rode off into the pit and tried my hand at some of the more technical sections. While it was fun to make the short climbs and feel the quick surge of speed as I came off the tops, I missed the shade and quick turns of the forest trail and so returned to them. By the time I reached the car, I had worked up a pretty good sweat and had drained the last drop of water out of my second bottle. I looked at my bike computer and saw that I had ridden a little over 10 miles. Not bad, I thought, not bad at all.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication