Sunday, May 20, 2012

Natchez Trace

     Saturday, May 19th
(I feel I need to start dating my entries since I can't do it every day & it gets confusing)

     Awoke to a beautiful morning EXCEPT that after a gorgeous, big, red sun setting last night (sailor's delight), the sun rose & briefly was red (sailors take warning).  So I was hoping for the big, red sunset to beat out and it did.  It was a delightful morning - warm, still air but not sweaty hot.
     Sat out late last night on the banks of the Mississippi and saw, even though we were on a very high bluff, there were the remains of the tattered sand bags from last years flood.  It was amazing to see how high the River got.
     I left this a.m. at 8:15 and again crossed over the Mississippi back into MS, left the El Camino Corridor and got on to the Natchez Trace.  It was the original path created by the Natchez Indians then later used by boatmen going home after sailing their boats and cargo down the River, selling the goods AND their boat, then walking home north - as far as Nashville, TN.    Also used by mail carriers, travelers and of course "bad guys".  It reminded me a lot of the Blue Ridge Highway but this isn't as high up and seemed more "spacious".
     There were several historical stops along the way - sound like a song you might recall - ". . . and let's make all the stops along the way. . . "  I made them all, reading all the history and figured it was my way of keeping my brain cells alert since I don't do Sudoku.
     There was The Emerald Mound which the ancestors of the Natchez Indians used for their royalty, ceremonies and games.  Reminded me of the ruins I saw in Cancun or one of those stops along the way on a cruise.
    Learned what a Louess is - the wind-blown bluff in this area left since the Ice Age.
    Visited the Locust Inn for travelers along the Trace - only one of about 20 that have survived.  It was also a working plantation with slaves.  I visited the slave cemetery and reflected about what a blight this is on our history - like the Holocaust is to German history.

    On this property I also saw a pretty shrub with golf ball size green "fruit/nut" things & asked the ranger.  It's in the citrus family - Trifoliate Orange" but doesn't get any bigger than this and is filled with seeds and the most bitter tasting of any fruit - even animals don't eat it but it does turn orange in the fall. A noted horticulturalist's recipe for orange-aide made out of this:  "take 1 barrel of water, 1 barrel of sugar and ONE orange and it's still sour".  It has hard, long thorns so the best use of the plant is as a barrier hedge to "keep out dogs, burglars, or college students averse to staying on the walkways."
     Anyway, it had pretty foliage and attractive fruit:

     This is getting to be a long commentary but it was a learning day:
     The "Sunken Trace" showed what the original Trace looked like over the years with so much use - it wore away the soil, exposing tree roots and got deeper and deeper but was rather a pretty path:

           And last - the site of some original settlers and their private graveyard:
    This was Mrs. Margaret - wife of W.F. Dillon who obviously found each day of her life important and worth noting.
     So, other noteworthy happenings/observations from today:
  • there were more bikers on the Trace than cars
  • I'm not sure but that mufflers are not legal in MS
  • got to be careful when you exit some roads, they fail to tell you that there's no re-entry
  • our National/State Parks/Forests are a real treasure.  We're so lucky our forefathers thought to preserve them.  Now we just need to keep funding them as well as P.E. & Home Ec classes
  • it would be helpful if on signs highlighting sites you might want to see along the way, if you were told how many miles away they were.  I might get off a road to go see something if I knew it was only a few miles but when you don't know but it could be 20 miles, you don't chance it
     The Trace dumped me in Jackson where I wanted to go to get maps for Arkansas & Oklahoma which somehow I failed to do before I left.  I couldn't find an address for the office but did have a star on the map that was pretty clear so after a few turn-arounds, I found it in what I now realized was a very big city and the capital of MS only to find out that it was closed on Sat.  Great.  
     Gertie redeemed herself by getting me to the Hugh White State Park at Grenada Lake to camp for the night but after talking to a neighboring camper because my elec. cord wouldn't reach the plug-in box, I drove to a Corp of Engineers camp area just down the road, just down the levee, and pulled in for the night, sat outside and was very comfortable and slept with the night air cooling off.

mileage:   238                                                                       gas:  $53  @ $3.39/gal
camp:  $9 (1/2 price 'cause I'm a senior)


  1. I enjoyed the short history lesson but really enjoyed the push for P.E. and Home Ec classes. Nice push!

    1. Isn't it more fun to learn history, first when you're older & appreciate it and second, when you actually experience it.
      That's what home ec & P.E. are too:)