Stephanie’s Gosling & the Natchez Trace


Natchez Trace Wilderness Preserve, Hohenwald, TN ~ May14-21, 2017

We arrived at this park on Sunday, May 14. It is not too far off the Natchez Trace and it is quite remote.

There are two Walmart’s, one is in Columbia which is about 45 minutes away. There is also a Mall and other stores and restaurants there.

This park is a Thousand Trails park and was established in the 1980’s. It is spread out over many acres, I think at least 100 acres. There are 3 phases that were completed and more land that was never completed for camping sites. The campground has cabins and many 30 amp sites. We were told when they built the park they really didn’t have class A’s like they do today, so they didn’t put in large sites with 50 amps. They are trying to convert some of the sites to 50 amps in the older parts but the sites are small and narrow and not level at all. It was a little disappointing for me. The other thing I forgot to mention is that there are a lot of permanent residents who took most of the usable sites and there are a lot of smaller sites who are using the electric from an adjacent site.
The first night we found an ok site, we leveled the best we could, we did get our satellite to lock in but we couldn’t get a phone signal and the wifi was very sketchy. Tim had to drive in the car to find phone signal, he found he could get it at the “Trading Post”, near the entrance. We only had a 30 amp hookup. We were told that that the park was trying to convert some of the sites to 50 amp, so Tim talked to the electrician on duty, but the site we were in couldn’t be converted. We decided to move. A neighboring site came open, 50 amp so we tried to move into it but we couldn’t level. First, the front wheels were off the ground, Tim did his magic and manually leveled but it wasn’t the best so we decided to move one more time. There were a few new 50 amp sites away from the other campground. It is by the small beach and was initially built to display tiny home models a year ago or so. You have to pay an additional $10.00 a day to have one. We found one that would work for us and are quite happy here.

We are on the Chief Creek Lake. It is very private and quiet except on the weekends when people come from all around to swim and boat in the lake. Where we parked, we could see the lake out of our front windshield. Right after we parked, I was making dinner and I looked out the front window and I saw this young man (he was in his mid-20’s) walking towards this family of geese. He looked as if he was trying to grab one of the goslings. I almost went out to ask him what he was doing, but he stopped and returned where he came from. A little after supper, Tim and I went outside, this is the time of the evening when he enjoys a good cigar. I started picking up trash and cigarette butts, mostly because it’s ugly, but I didn’t want to geese to eat the cigarette butts. As I went to throw the trash away, the young man said hello to me. I think he was surprised that I was picking up the trash, anyway, we started talking. He then told me about the geese and the gosling that he was trying to catch. He wanted to show me this gosling so walked over to the gosling and showed me that she had fishing line wrapped around both legs. He was very concerned, he talked to the Park Ranger about the situation twice that day but did not receive any help. I told him that I would try to assist him. I was really surprised how difficult it was, the parent geese are extremely protective, they run at you, hissing like crazy, flapping their huge wings and running into you. It was extremely intimidating. They also run their babies into the water where you can’t get them. We gave up when it got dark. That whole night, I couldn’t get them out of my mind, then it hit me that maybe if I get the parent geese out of the way, I could capture the gosling. I then called a Wildlife Rescue person, she told me that she couldn’t get out there to help but said that I can go ahead and capture her and she gave me some ideas of how to go about it. I didn’t realize that they are protected, later on I would find out that the male goose has a band around his one leg. I was worried all night. The next day Tim and I did some traveling to Nashville, I didn’t think we would be home in time to do anything that evening. We got home at about 1700hrs, so there was time. Tim realized how important this was to me, I really tried not to voice my concern too often, but when we went outside, he had a plan already thought through as to how he thought we could capture her. His idea was to get the family up the bank and away from the water. There was a big grassy area behind our coach with a backstop to a baseball field, he said we need to get them up to this field and corner them in the backstop and grab her. I led them up there with bread, I looked like the Pied Piper. Well, to my surprise, they are extremely fast, even the hobbled one, I just wasn’t fast enough. I needed to get more bread and I wanted to have the scissors in my pocket for when we capture her.

When I went into the coach, I grabbed a beach towel, the scissors, and the bread and went outside, and I said a prayer to the Lord to let us catch this helpless gosling. We went through the whole process again, the geese kept flying at us and hissing, but we were determined to help the gosling and not let her die. Finally, we got them into position and cornered, I wasn’t fast enough to catch her so I just threw the towel on top of the gosling, and just scooped her up. To my surprise, the gosling got very quiet and the geese went away.

We quickly walked back to our coach, there was a picnic table there. As I held her, we got her legs to stick out of the towel, with her head and body still covered. Tim was very quick and precise as he gently cut away the fishing line from both of her legs. The first leg he cut the line way from, it was wrapped about 4 times but loosely, the second leg it was tightly wrapped about 6 times. At this point, it has not cut into the skin. There was also about a foot of loose line that dangled behind her, that could get tangled in trees or grasses in the lake.

As soon as she was free of the line, we took her back to her family who was waiting and wondering where she had disappeared to. I unwrapped her and set her free.

As soon as they were reunited, everything returned to normal. We were so happy!!!! I also learned that they forget bad events very quickly. About 10 minutes after they reunited, I gave them the bread I had left. They all waddled quickly back to me as if nothing ever happened. I was very, very surprised at this. I watched the gosling, she was still limping pretty good and I could see that it was because she hadn’t been able to make a full extension of her gait. As we watched her and fed the family each day, (they would come to our coach at about 1900hrs (7:00 pm) each day for a bread treat) she was noticeably improving. By the 3rd day, post line removal, I couldn’t tell her from the other two goslings. These geese gave my heart such pleasure during our visit that I hated to leave them. On our last morning, as we were packing up to leave, they waddled over to our coach for one last snack. I miss them and pray that they grow and fly off into the beautiful sunset.

We spent 2 days worrying and capturing a gosling who had fishing line wrapped around its legs. It was hobbled and couldn’t extend fully to have a full gait so walking and swimming was tough for him. It also had a loose line following behind. A good trap for when he started to fly. We were successful at removing this and he is free of the fishing line now. Tim was excellent at helping me and planning how we could do this.

We also decided that since we wouldn’t complete the Natchez Trace in the Coach that we would drive it in our truck. So on Tuesday, May 16th we drove the Natchez Trace to the end in Nashville. We ate at the Loveless Cafe for breakfast, it was good and we visited the shops that were associated with thIchez Trace we did stop and visit some of the sites. We saw a waterfall which was very pretty. We saw the old mining site where they mined for iron. There wasn’t much to see but you could use your imagination.