Logbook Stories

Below are stories voluntarily submitted by people who have completed the entire Trace. Notice that many of them by are persons who have started cycling, walking, etc. at least partly because the Trace provided a safe, attractive, and enjoyable place to do it!  

 On April 2, 2013, I made a round trip from Prentis to Hattiesburg and back. It took eight hours but I spent a considerable time sightseeing and talking with other bikers along the trail. I have been biking for about a year after hiking most of my life(including the Longleaf Trace) and find this Rail Trail one of the best around. It has something for everyone from beginner to advanced...walking, running, biking, riding or just enjoying the outdoors. This is something Mississippi should be proud of... Gordon High 

I had a great experience on the trail. Lots of wildlife all around and plenty of scenic views that i had no idea would be on the trail. Everyone that was on the trail was really nice and i actually met a few really cool people. From start to finish it took me rite at 5hours thats counting my hour long lunch break in Sumrall and many conversations with others on the trace at the different stations. All in all i highly recomend the trace to everyone.

Kody Atwood

Two of my senior friends and I biked on the Longleaf Trace last week. In spite of the storms, we finished the trail without getting drenched. We started at the Hattiesburg Gateway, where someone had worked really diligently labeling the trees and other plants along the trail. Along much of the trail, the majestic water oaks were just breath-taking. The trail itself had almost no increase in elevation, making it easy for three old ladies. There were plenty of rest stops along the way. I highly recommend this trail for ease of riding and scenery. Hattiesburg has plenty of motels and restaurants.

Shirley Miller

My son Patrick Gonzalez,  10 yrs old, and I ,Tony Gonzalez 41, from
Wiggins, MS bicycled from Prentiss to Hattiesburg on Sat. May 29th.It took us approximately 6hrs to complete, including breaks to eat and enjoy the many scenic views and picture taking. We had talked about it for mos. and took several 10 mi trial runs before attempting

This story was published in the Thursday, May 13, 2010 issue of The ReView of Jones County http://www.thereviewnews.net  ) 

51.9 Years / 54.3 Miles / $7.00

  They’ve got a thing on the Longleaf Trace Bike Trail in Hattiesburg called The Birthday Challenge. The Challenge is simply a personal goal to run, walk, bike, roller blade, or wheelchair your age in either kilometers or miles.

  Now, I have met the Birthday/Kilometer Challenge (the equivalent of 31.7 miles) more than once, but never the tougher Birthday/Miles Challenge (i.e. 51 miles). When I ride, I usually think about the Challenge. “One of these days I’ll do it,” I assure myself.

  On a recent Saturday, the weather started out sour but was perfect for biking by noon . We loaded my bike, picked up a $6.00 battery for my bicycle speedometer, and headed westward.

  I was dumped at the northern trailhead in Prentiss My help-mate continued on to Hattiesburg to play Spend. I jumped on my bike in a surprisingly spry fashion, at least for an older gentleman.

  Despite having a plush gel seat as big as a Ouija Board, my buns were toast in less than 10 miles. But my legs still had energy, so I pumped away, enjoying the passing scenery, and thinking deeply.

  There were a lot of people on the Trace to start with, but the crowd had thinned by the time I reached Kudzu World.

  Near Sumrall, an Emu or Ostrich, hoping for a handout, met me at the fence at the Exotic Animal Farm. I gave him a long blade of grass. He spit it out and gave me a mean look. The bamboo forest near Sumrall was not as enchanting as it once was; half has been cut down to make way for the ever-lengthening, adjacent horse trail.

  I tried to get a Barq’s Root Beer in Sumrall (which has a new pavilion) but the machine balked. I settled for a Coke ($1.00) at Epley. There was a young couple sitting on the deck beside the Beaver Pond, staring at turtles on logs.

  My truck was waiting for me at Jackson Road . Counting detours, I had been only 38 miles. I needed another 13 miles to make the 51 Mile Challenge. To USM and back would only get me another 8 miles. I had to get 5 extra miles somewhere.

  By this time, riding seemed less like “joyful” and more like “grim determination”. I was watching the odometer more than the scenery. My whole body was aching. But I was determined to reach my goal. Being hard headed does have its perks.

  I crossed I-59 and got a truck to blow his air horn. I liked that. USM was playing baseball. The energy of the roaring crowd rubbed off on me a little bit. I rode past the Trace Headquarters, and continued along on the unfinished part of the Trace, across Highway 49, and towards downtown Hattiesburg .

  I rode through my old trailer park location which is now USM’s Track and Field facility. I caught a glimpse of a collegiate women’s softball game going on in a secret field I didn’t know existed. I saw a Hattiesburg American rack lying in a ditch, its coin box torn asunder.

  Back on campus, I first rode under the football stadium, then inside the stadium. I passed the Student Union, Danforth Chapel, the Administration Building , and the Rose Garden. I turned around at Hardy Street , rode the bridge over Lake Byron , and admired the refurbished Alumni House. I went past the Walker and Chain Science Buildings , the Tung (not tongue) Lab, the Thames Polymer Science Building , the Coliseum, and Fraternity/Sorority Row.

  Finally I returned to the Trace. On Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 5:50 PM , at Mugshots, I met my personal Birthday Challenge - 51 miles. I tacked on another 3.3 miles getting back to the truck. Those leather seats never felt so good!

  The End.  

In April my wife and I biked from the Amtrak station in Brookhaven to Mobile for my 50th high school reunion, including the entire length of the Longleaf Trace.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Trace, more than I can say for US 49 south of Hattiesburg.

The complete trip report / travel log is
here.  The Trace portion starts here.

Paul Marlin
Quincy, IL

Hello Mr. Pierce--
We finally remembered that a biker we met on the Trace took a few pictures of us and said he would submit them to the Trace website, and, surprise, there we are. Unfortunately, we have misplaced his name and email address.
We planned to spend two days riding the Trace, but liked it so much we stayed for a third day. It was probably on the  third day that we had a nice chat with you at the Sumrall station.
We have ridden 47 different trails, most of them rail-trails, in the US and Canada, and overall, Longleaf is the best. The southern Mississippi countryside is beautiful; the stations at the towns and the numerous rest stops, weather stations and overlooks are superior to any other trail of comparable length; and everyone we met was very welcoming, including the resident emus.
We will be back.
Nancy and Gil Krueger 

I was able to finally enjoy the entire Trace on a beautiful November 1st!  Hattiesburg was home for almost 25 years until we moved in 2000 and many bicycle miles were logged on the roads around town during my work commutes and for fun.  A portion of the Trace was being created before we moved and I could tell it was going to be awesome!  

Bicycling in Knoxville and now in Mobile is enjoyable but pale in comparison to the opportunities that the Longleaf Trace gives your area.  Easy access to a safe and quiet workout or commute is priceless!  I am proud to have lived in Hattiesburg and will always recommend the Trace to fellow bicyclists.  

Buddy Wood
Mobile, AL  

Ya'll have a great ride on the Longleaf Trace.  I enjoyed the whole
Hattiesburg/Prentiss/Hattiesburg loop solo today.  The cottontails, many
song birds, and a couple snakes (luckily non-poisonous) greeted me and
scooted away as I approached all along the Trace.  And I think every person
that I passed gave a verbal greeting as we passed.  I look forward to riding
the Trace again!

Hank Baltar
Jacksonville FL and Gulfport MS

I came to Mississippi with the intent of riding the entire Trace. When my rather headstrong father-in-law “Tom Mims of Petal MS.” learned that I was going to ride the entire Trace, the anticipated “leisure ride” was elevated to a “challenge”! Tom Mims (not Dean) got in touch with the Herlon Pierce via Lynn Cartlidge who was responsible for contacting the folks in Prentiss. It became immediately obvious that Tom had never heard that people ride this distance on a regular basis!!  I was happy to play along with the “challenge” but would like it known that I didn’t go looking for this attention and fully realize that a sub 4 hour time will be recorded shortly!

The Longleaf Trace is an awesome trail and residents along the Trace (and in the surrounding areas) are blessed to have easy access to it! I greatly appreciate all of the supporters of this facility in Mississippi and hope to enjoy it every time we are in town!! Thanks a bunch!

Dean Blakeslee      (See Solo Challenge

I left from Jackson Road toward the Gateway at 7, and met up with a group led by Chris West near Gateway. I then turned around and went with them to Prentiss, then back to Jackson Rd. This completed my length of the trace. At Jackson I carried an injured rider home, but I decided after that to ride from Jackson Rd to Sumrall and back to make a full century. My Time was about 5:30.

I really like riding on the trace, and the only complaint that I have is lack of first aid in the first aid boxes. I have needed bandages on several occasions, and they have not been there. The landscaping looks great and it is a really enjoyable, beautiful ride. Keep up the good work.

Matthew Bennett

Charles Felsher (who loves a hot day), and Running Bear (who hates a hot day) turn and head back to the Gateway.  Despite the July heat they finished the round trip in under 5 and one half hours. (2006)

In June 2007, Charles set out to do a double double. Starting at 01:40 one Saturday morning, using a head lamp as his bike light quit, he rode to Prentiss and back solo. Then he immediately headed out again and did it again! He finished in a total riding time of 9:41, with an average speed of 17.13.  Congratulations Charles.

On May 11th, while visiting family in Summit, MS, I decided to ride the trace.  It turned out to be a beautiful day with the temperature in the low 70s.  It took me about 5 ½ hours, which includes a 30 minute visit at the Hattiesburg Gateway.  If you are looking for an enjoyable easy ride, this is it.  I would recommend slowing down and enjoying the scenery on this ride.
Todd Bradberry
Batesville, AR  

My wife and I are on a 7 month, 10,000 mile bicycle tour (I'm cycling; my wife is  driving our support van, bless her). My mission is to cycle all of the lower 48 states to show that having diabetes doesn't mean giving up your dreams. Our web site is www.thedreamtour.org.

All I can say is "wow!".  What a great resource!  I've cycled 2600 miles since leaving Salt Lake City on March 18 and this has to be the most pleasant cycling I've seen yet.  Great facilities all along the route.  Informative signs. Well-maintained.  Citizens of Mississippi should be very proud of themselves for providing this resource!  Keep up the great work! 

Peter Hoogenboom  Salt Lake City, Utah

March 14th, I rode the Longleaf from the USM gateway to Prentiss and back and then looped back out past Clyde Depot and back completing my first century at 59 years old.  I completed the Century in 7:39:52 averaging 13.07 MPH, which I thought was good considering the 15+ mph North wind.  I'll try to ride the complete loop again this weekend while on Spring Break from East Central Community College.  Thanks, this is really a great ride and resource for Mississippi.  Joseph Renaud, Lake, MS     

My friends and I bicycled from the USM Gateway to Prentiss and back.  Members of the ride included Bill O’Quin, Branden Henner, and Matt McKeithen,.  We left at 7:30am and got back at 6:00pm on Jan. 4th 2006.  We stopped in Sumrall for breakfast at Wards.  We made it to Prentiss at about 1:00pm.  We ate lunch in Prentiss then we started to head back for Hattiesburg.  We made it back to the USM Gateway at about 6:00pm.
Branden Henner

I rode a 'birthday ride' on July 2, 2005 (my birthday is 7/3) from Prentiss to Gateway.  I only needed 59km, but I went ahead and finished the entire length.  The biggest challenge was the heat.  I really appreciated the rest stops and facilities along the route.  I plan to do a birthday ride in miles at the next Nov. event.  Hopefully it will be little cooler then. 
Conrad Smith
Brandon, MS

Perseverance! Set out at 4:30 a.m. with headlight.  First spoke broke at Sumrall and I had to  ride without back brakes.  Second spoke broke on the return trip right before Sumrall and tire was rubbing against frame for the next 20 miles.  Ride ended at 12:00 noon.  Had to get a new tire and spokes, but made it all the way to  Prentiss and back.
Todd Williams

I just found your website, and I like it a lot!  I am a truck driver from Douglas, GA, and I carry my bike in the truck with me and ride somewhere everyday. Occasionally, I'll get a trip to our distribution center (Wal-Mart) in Brookhaven, Ms, and I have to stop and ride the trace! I have ridden the entire trail, but not all at once. Since I have to fit it in my schedule, the most I can do at one time is about 30 miles. My most recent ride was 7-8-05, and I took pictures which some friends in GA are using  to promote a proposed rail-trail in Kingsland, Ga. I have met some really nice folks out on the trail, and I have thoroughly enjoyed your facility!

Thank you so much!

Bob De Camp, (Wal-Mart truck driver)

While visiting my parents in Long Beach for the 4th of July weekend, I drove up to Hattiesburg on Saturday morning (July 2nd) and rode the full length of the trace and back. I started at 8:30am, made the round trip in just under five hours, and finished up around 1:30pm. It got a little hot for the last 20 miles--properly hydrating a few days before a ride like this is always a good idea (which I didn't do well enough, so my performance suffered). I look forward to returning in the Fall or Spring to get my time closer to four hours. It was a wonderful cycling experience, and is an excellent example of what can happen when everyone gets together and makes something happen. I would certainly like to see more projects like this here in Texas.

A photo journal of my ride can be viewed at...

My only suggestion is to provide more information and clarification in the literature and on the Web site about calling out and warning other riders while you're on the Trace. The most important call is "on your left" or "passing on your left" when passing patrons headed in the same direction. Faster riders should be encouraged to use it, and the more leisurely riders, skaters and pedestrians need to know what it means and what they are to do--and to be alert and know someone might be approaching from behind and making these calls. A couple of times I came up on couples that were riding two abreast and I slowed down and politely called out I was passing--only to startle them, have them wobble into my path (something I anticipated) and have them take a few moments to move over. As I carefully passed I courteously thanked them (and said I was sorry to the man that almost fell off his bike). 

Tim Hansford   

I am a relatively new 53 year old cyclist and have wanted to ride the whole trace for some time now. Due to surgery earlier this year, I have been delayed. But, on July ninth, 2005, while waiting to see what hurricane Dennis was going to do, I drove up from Gulfport to the trace. I had to return to my vehicle after 1.5 miles for something I forgot, so the trip ended up being 85 miles round trip. I started at about 6:30 am and was completed at about 12:30. I really enjoyed the trace, it is a beautiful ride and it is well taken care of. Never saw so many rabbits in my life!

 When my legs recover, I will be back. 

Dave Turgeon    Gulfport, MS

For several years, I've wanted to complete a century ride. Today I finally did. I rode from Southern Miss to Prentiss then back (81.6 miles). Back at Southern Miss I turned around and rode to Epley and back (22.4 miles). Hence, I rode a total of 104 miles. I'm glad we have the trace in our area.

Roderick Posey

I just saw the log book, so my entry is a little late.  In September of 2004 to "celebrate" my 40th birthday, I rode my bicycle from USM to Prentiss and back, and then back up the trail 10 miles and back to complete a "century" or 100 miles in one day.  I'm planning on this becoming a yearly event (maybe not 100 every year, but at least to Prentiss and back), as the trace is a beautiful trail and it made for a memorable day.
Lynwood C. Wheeler, Ph.D., ABPP Psychologist

I, Henry Lopez, Jr. and my wife Mitzi Lopez have completed the Trace from Hattiesburg to Prentiss and back.  But we didn't stop with just the 82 mile round trip, we also got back on the trace for another 9 miles out and then back again to complete a whopping 100 miles in one day.  We completed the 100 miles on June 2, 2005.  The Trace was an excellent bicycling experience.  We saw lots of wildlife.  We were also please to see how well maintained the Trace was.  I'm 40 years old and my wife is 39 years old.  We are from St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.  We will be back.    


My name is Rick Chatham and I completed the Longleaf trace trail on November 13 2004 during the special event for that day . I took off from Southern Gateway in Hattiesburg at 6:00 am and finished at Prentiss at 3:26 pm. I started off running 10 minutes and then walking for 5, but after about 20 miles I had to change and started running 1/4 mile and walking 3/4 because my ankles started giving me troubles. I enjoyed the event, but do not plan on doing it again for awhile. I am from Hattiesburg and use the trail a lot. I am in one of the pictures for the Birthday Challenge on the web site.

I completed a round trip (82 miles) of the Trace back in September 2003 on bicycle. This trail is one of the Best!
Paul A. Branham, Houston TX

I made the round trip of USM to Prentiss this past Saturday, May 7, 2005. I
left from my house, which is 1 mile from the gateway, at 10:50am and
returned home at 5:10pm. That put my round trip at 82.4 miles in 6hrs 20min.
It was such a wonderful ride. Thanks to everyone that supports the Trace! Chamberlan Carothers 

We enjoyed your visitors center in Hattiesburg. The host, Bob Gates, was very friendly and helpful. Please tell him that those two Georgia people who started out by falling off their bikes in a pile made it all the way to Prentiss and back (82.5 mi. with the side trip to The Country Fisherman), arriving in almost total darkness.

"We spent the night [24 Nov.] in Slidell, La., and were awakened at 5 a.m. Wed. by the passing of a line of thunderstorms that, we soon found out, also spawned a tornado in a western suburb of Slidell. (Some wake-up call, I told my host!) In fact, it rained on us most of the 75 miles to Hattiesburg but did not keep us from setting out at 10 on a damp trail covered with leaves, twigs, and even limbs.
The Longleaf Trace is much like the Silver Comet Trail. The asphalt surface is in poorer shape, but the amenities are superior: abundant restrooms, with picnic tables, drink machines, and water sources, as well as four and a half towns along the way. Prentiss, the western terminus, has a great country buffet, The Country Fisherman, which probably indirectly slowed our return progress. I figured it would be after Thanksgiving or the next week before trash was removed from the Trace, but soon after eating we passed a truck pulling a blower, which had just about completely cleared the trail only a few hours after it became covered; the driver had even sawed a 4" diameter tree we were not able to pull from the trail. Unfortunately, the asphalt was buckled in many places, and wash-boarding was also evident in several areas. The effect, especially of the former, was all too suddenly jarring at times. Overall, however, we had a great time doing our longest ride ever--and just barely getting back to Hattiesburg before total darkness.  I have a map and literature, and I have fully explored your extensive, informative website with its good photography. (Incidentally, it says that there's a barbecue place in Prentiss, but a store owner we asked had never heard of one, but she gave us the good recommendation of The Country Fisherman.) O. C. Dean Athens, GA

Thanks for a good experience. On 10-26-04 myself, Cody Woodrick, Michael Reaves, and Joe Berlin, rode the entire trace from Hattiesburg to Prentiss and back on bicycles. We are all officers of the Laurel Police Dept. This was my second trip this month. I promised myself a new bike if I made it the first time. This time I made the trip on a Trek Hybrid. It was a lot easier. Michael and Joe both made the trip, as I did the first time on Mt. bikes. Quite a feat! Add our names to the list. We came, we saw, we conquered.

Hello, my name is Cody Woodrick. Saturday 10/2/04, I rode my bike from the Gateway in Hattiesburg to Prentiss and back. The whole 82 miles. I've only been riding about two months. I am 52 years old. I am a Police Officer for the City of Laurel, MS. I really enjoyed the trace. It has nice scenery, wildlife, and is well kept. I promised myself a new bike if I made the whole trip. I will be back, with a new bike. 

My friend Bob Wilson of Corinth Miss and I [Bill Britton from Memphis] had just arrived in Hattiesburg  after Biking from Prentiss when we met these two fellow recumbentists. Bob (far left) and I (second from left) camped out at Jeff Davis Lake, and rode to Hattiesburg and back. We had a wonderful time. Bob Wilson is 77 years old and made the 2 way ride with no problems. Hope I'm in that good of shape when I'm 77 (23 years from now).  Bill Britton, Memphis TN. See more great pictures of their trip.

On August 14th, 2004, 13 active Army personnel rode from Prentiss to the Hattiesburg station. We had a fairly organized ride with check points and service support positioned throughout the course. We are stationed across TN and are here temporarily working to prepare National Guard units for deployment. We all enjoyed the ride very much. All had mountain bicycles, no road bikes. I road the fasted time at 2:20 with two short stops at the beginning to make adjustments on other bikes. I was pushed the whole way by Kevin Cox and John Lopez. We plan on doing this again prior to our departure.

Riders: Joe Gould (2:20), Kevin Cox, John Lopez, Brian Jackson,  Kevin Wankerl, Donnell Bailey,  Bill Powell,  Pat Rogers, Michael Rossman, Robert Thomas, Mark Porter, Clarence Alford, Jennifer Marini

CW3 Joseph Gould
Aviation Maintenance Trainer
2-409th TSBN
Knoxville TN   

Dwight Hollingsworth and I, Bob Clark, rode the trace from Prentiss to Hattiesburg and back the day of the April  04 Run for the Roses 5K in Prentiss. After running the 5K, we left Prentiss and rode to Hattiesburg station, and on the way back we stopped at Sumrall for lunch. We finished the ride about 4:30 that afternoon.  John Pendergrass encountered us on the ride and a friend of mine, Lynn Landrum met us outside of Hattiesburg and rode back to Hattiesburg then turned and rode out to Sumrall with us.

I am a mobilized Reserve soldier and am here only temporarily. Riding on the Trace has been one of my physical training events since my arrival. Since the beginning of June I have logged 414 miles riding on the Trace, mostly between the Gateway and Epley Station. This is the first time I have ridden the whole thing. I enjoy it very much and will miss it when I am demobilized and go home.  David Rathbone

My wife and I cycled the Trace from end to end, Gateway to Prentiss and back, 82 miles on June 12th, 2004.  We watched for and observed: numerous birds (including an owl), a wild turkey, copperhead snakes, and numerous rabbits.  We first learned about the Trace from a business associate from Baton Rouge who visited with his Scout Troop last year.  We then searched the web and found this website.  We stayed overnight the previous night in Hattiesburg, and ate at area restaurants before and after cycling the Trace. Andy Bourque,  Broussard LA 

A group of skaters from Georgia roller bladed the entire 41 mile length of the Trace on MS walk day. From left to right:  Susan Daves, Don Baumgartner, Erik McCarron, Dan Gillespie, Jim Conner, and Joe Shelton. Not pictured:  Elaine A. Tidwell and Liz Shelton

Barbara and Kevin Crotty

    I had the opportunity to pedal the trace from Southern Miss to Prentiss and back on Friday, March 26th.  I wanted to compliment you on the project, but even more for the people I met on the way.  Being a visitor to the area for only a day, I asked some of the maintenance workers a few questions when I stopped in Bassfield.  The gentlemen were very courteous and helpful, and provided me with a map of the trail and other information. 

    You have a wonderful attraction, and I hope to be back again sometime soon! 

Kevin Crotty
Bellaire, Texas

Charles Inman and Jack Stephenson

My name is Charles Inman and I am from Bartlett Tennessee. My friend Jack Stephenson and I rode the Longleaf Trace this weekend. It is a wonderful trail and I have been there 3 times. In fact I completed my first Century ride (100 miles) on the trace. We started in Hattiesburg and rode to Prentiss and had lunch. We headed back to Hattiesburg around 1pm. We were 2 to 3 miles south of Prentiss when my buddy heard a noise, and an animal running parallel to us for about 50 yards. I never heard the noise myself. About a minute later a very LARGE cat crossed the path from right to left.  I would estimate the cat was between 50-70 pounds. It was the size of my lab, and was tan to brown in color. It never threatened us at all, it was just startling to see.

I know that you may hear some strange stories from time to time. We are both in our 40's and are college educated professionals. We saw a very big cat. What in the world was it? Has anyone else reported this?
Thank you,
Charles Inman
Bartlett, TN   

Good Morning: My name is Tim Dortch, I am from Richland MS. I was there this past Sat 3/20/04 riding the great trail. I had the time of my life riding. I started in Hattiesburg at 8:30, made it 3 miles and had a flat. I was not going to let it stop me. I took my extra tube out installed it, and it was bad also. I then patched my old one, and went back to the Gateway Southern Miss. The young lady that was working saw how bad I wanted to make the trip. She helped me get back on the trail. I left again at 9:30, arrived in Prentiss at 1:30. I left Prentiss and returned to Hattiesburg at 4:00. It was a trip I dedicated to the Lord for giving me life. Two years ago I had a stent installed at age 36. I had a 90% block in my heart. It was a way for me to say thank you to the Lord for allowing the doctors to find and fix the problem, before it was to late. I never dreamed I would be able to make it all the way there and back, it was a great victory for me to do it.

Hope to see you again soon. Longleaf is a dream spot for a person to ride, walk, or run. Please make it longer one day.

Thanks, Tim Dortch PS. Can't wait to see my name on the list!!!

Alan and Ina Lynn Hale

My wife and I finished completing the entire trace on October 4, doing this over two days starting once at the USM station and going to Sumrall and back and then starting at Sumrall and going to Prentiss and back.  We started cycling the trace at the beginning of the summer and have now made this a regular event in our schedules.  Great exercise, great scenery, great people and a great time for us to talk and visit.  

Marvin and Gina Leake

My husband and I started using the trail (walking) last year around January (2002). I had been told by my Dr. that I needed to lose weight and to exercise, preferably walking. Walking is not my favorite thing to do, I couldn't help but notice the cyclist of all shapes, sizes and ages. I decided I wanted to give it a try. We've been riding every since! I logged over 1500 miles since February 2002. My husband and I have traveled the entire trail, (not all in one day). It is so beautiful and I am so happy that I have finally found an exercise that I love and WANT to do! 

I've still got 30 pounds to go and I will reach that goal by this December.

My husband and I would like to express to you how much we have enjoyed the trail and appreciate all the work that goes into keeping it beautiful and safe.

Thank you and God bless you!
Marvin and Gina Leake
Hattiesburg, MS

Penny Kochtitzky

Dear Sirs,
This is just to let you know that we two senior citizens (my sister-in-law and I) plan to finish walking the trail tomorrow (May 20) if the weather is cooperative.  My husband will drive us to Ed Parkman Road and let us off to finish the last 2.3 miles that we have not walked; then we'll meet him in Prentiss to celebrate by having lunch at the Country Fisherman.  This has been an exhilarating experience to find that we can do it a little bit at the time and still enjoy the beautiful scenery, the magical sights, and the wonderful peacefulness of the Longleaf Trace.  We found the people on and off the trail were friendly and gracious.  Thank you for the foresightedness of making this possible.
Penny Kochtitzky, (Age, 71)

(Ms. Kochtitzky is one of the area's leading conservationists and naturalists) 

Ryan Smith,
New Orleans

I biked a century last Saturday on the trace, and I will definitely be back for more.  I went from Jackson Station to Prentiss to Bassfield to Prentiss to the other end and back to Jackson Station (plus another 0.2 mi to make an even 100 miles).  That's my first ever century ride, and I don't know of a better place in the South to ride that far.  Trail conditions are excellent over it's full length, it's well shaded all but a few hours around midday, and there are only a handful of places where you have to stop to cross traffic.  Plus, it's quiet and picturesque.  I saw a total of 3 deer on two occasions during my ride.  The first time I was taken off guard by two doe that bolted across the trail 40' ahead of me when I was going ~25 mph on the downhill section about 5 miles from Prentiss. 

My only recommendation for improvement:  The 25 mile stretch from Sumrall to Prentiss really needs a water fountain and PowerAde/water/Coke machine!    

Roderick Posey

After reading in the Prentiss Headlight about two women who had walked the Trace, I decided to expand my travels by jogging beyond my usual route of Jackson Station to Clyde Station. I don't have the article anymore, but I recall the women where in their 70s. They would walk three miles and have their son pick them up. Next time they would start where they left off.

When I read the article, I was jogging from Jackson Station to Clyde and then walking back. After reading the article, I decided to jog the entire Trace.

Here's the plan I followed beginning on June 23 and finishing on August 4, 2001:
Jackson Station to Clyde (had already done. Also, I had already jogged the
2.5 miles east of Jackson Station).
Jogged to Epley and walked back
Jogged to Sumrall and walked back
Jogged from Sumrall to Mile marker 22 and walked and jogged back
Jogged from Mile marker 22 to Lott Circle and walked and jogged back
Jogged from Lott Circle to Mile marker 29 and walked and jogged back
Jogged from Bassfield to Mile marker 29 and jogged back (I was feeling
better and getting stronger)
Jogged from Bassfield to Mile marker 35 and jogged back
Jogged from Carson to Mile marker 35 and jogged back
Jogged from Carson to Ed Parkman and jogged back
Jogged from Prentiss to Ed Parkman and jogged back

While jogging the Trace, I noticed
what a good time those on bikes seemed to be having. So I went to Moore's Bicycle Shop and brought myself a bike. On my first ride, I made it to Sumrall and discovered that biking uses different muscles than jogging. I would need some time riding my bike before I could attempt to ride the entire distance of the Trace. I rode my bike to Sumrall a couple of days a week until November of 2001. I exercised inside for the months of December and January. In February of this year, I returned to riding to Sumrall.

On April 27, I rode from Jackson Station to Lott Circle and back. I knew that Lott Circle is about the midpoint of the Trace. I decided that the first chance I could work it out, I would park my car at Jackson Station and get my son to take me to Prentiss. Yesterday, May 16 was the day. My son dropped me and my bike off in Prentiss at 8:02 a.m. At 12:10 p.m. I rode across the East end of the Trace. My actual riding time was 3 hours and 8 minutes (I had a stop watch). I rested in Carson, Bassfield, Lott Station, Sumrall, Epley, and Clyde. In addition, I stopped between Bassfield and Lott Circle to answer some questions about the Trace for a couple of ladies in a golf cart. I didn't stop at Jackson Station but just kept going to the end. Of course, after getting to the end, I rode back to Jackson Station where my car was located.

So as of
yesterday, I have jogged, jogged-walked, and biked the full length of the Long Leaf Trace. 

Doug Gangawere

I recently cycled the entire trace out and back plus a couple more miles to make it a 75 mile ride. My intention was to ride about 50 miles but I met up with a good riding companion, it was an unusually cool ( 80s) August morning, and I knocked my pace down a notch or two. It's really a great experience!!! I'd say the sense of accomplishment was the main reason for doing the complete trail. Sure, it would have been nice to have had a celebration party at the finish, but just a simple handshake from my riding partner sufficed. I look forward to the trail extension and a new out and back challenge.

Happy Cycling,

Don Davis Sr.

I explored the trace 2 ways on a bicycle in November and December, 2002.  I
rode my age, 69, in the Birthday challenge and finished the trip in
December, 2002.

Boy Scout Troop 210 completed the entire trail bicycling on October 25, 2003 starting in Hattiesburg and going to Prentiss, reversing to Jeff Davis Lake for a total of 50 miles. They camped at Jeff Davis Lake on Friday and Saturday night. The Scouts completed the final requirement on their Cycling merit badge (50 Miler). They also made a previous 25 mile trip at the Trace  for the 25 mile requirement. 12 Scouts and Leaders made the trip.