Monday, May 18, 2009

Natchez Trace - Day One

Hi all - Dianne here.  We left Summit Lake State Park a day early to enable us to drive down the Natchez Trace to New Orleans, rather than staying on the interstate highways.

 Sunday morning we left Summit Lake and traveled to just north of Nashville, Tennessee.    
Monday morning we set off down the Natchez Trace Parkway, which spans 440 miles, from just south of Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.   We have our friends Harry and Bobbi to thank for encouraging us to take this route.   What a scenic, peaceful drive!  

 There was hardly ANY traffic, no stop lights, no semis, lovely scenery and short hikes.   I will let some of the photos speak for themselves.  

 A few of the highlights were the double-arch



(of Lewis & Clark fame) grave and monument, and best of all Jackson Falls.

  Roger has never met a rock in a creek he hasn't climbed on, and when he climbed on the rocks at the falls, he realized that the view we THOUGHT was the falls was only the lower section.   He quickly came back for the camera to photograph the upper section as it spilled like a water chute down to the lower falls.   Any man-made water feature could only dream of being as fabulous as this water fall.   It was a very steep, short hike to get to the falls, but well worth it.  

 We also stopped at several of the other turn-outs

 and took some photos of the interesting sites featured in each.  One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was to take a short hike on a portion of the original Natchez Trace.  If you aren't familiar with what the Natchez Trace is, it is the route the "Kaintucks" and other pioneers from the fertile lands of the Ohio Valley would take after floating their crops down the rivers to Natchez.  Since the current was too strong to float back up north to their homes, they would dismantle the barges and sell the lumber, then set out for home on foot or horseback.  The Natchez Trace was the route taken by these pioneers for many years, and Indians and Buffalo before them.

After hiking for a while down the old trace portion, the surface turned from dirt and gravel to foot-tall grasses.  Roger suggested we turn back, but I wanted to push on, because I was really getting into the historical vibe of the old path.  (Roger made up one of his silly songs as I did this, the theme song from Daniel Boone as he substituted my name for Daniel's.)   

As usual, I should have listened to Roger and turned back, because once we were in the motorhome, we had to spend about 15 minutes pulling several ticks off the legs of  both dogs.  Since their fur is very light and short, it was easy to find all the little varmints and banish them back outdoors before they had a chance to dine on our dogs.

I must explain the little map photo.  When I was a young girl (probably 10 or younger), I cut this little map out of a small paperback book.  Every time I traveled to a new state I colored in that state with whatever I had with me at the time (usually just a ball point pen), usually as I crossed the state line.    

As you can see, this little almost-50-year-old scrap of paper was just missing three states prior to today, one of which was Mississippi.  I happily colored it in as we crossed into Mississippi on the Natchez Trace.  All that is left now is a trip to New England to take in Vermont and New Hampshire.  We have Maine taken care of from a day trip we took with Ambassadaire Travel Club several years ago, by plane.   I also need to make it to Alaska someday.  I don't even think Alaska was a state when I started coloring in this map!   Any 10-year-old kid who kept a map like this for almost 50 years was destined to full time in a motorhome in her golden years, don't you think?

We made it all the way to  Tupelo, Mississippi on day one.  Harry and Bobbi also recommended we stay at Trace State Park outside Tupelo.  Wow!!  What a beautiful place!  

 The last six photos are of the views from our camp site at Trace State Park. 

  It's a shame we are only here for one night. 

  We had a nice camp fire and called it a day.  

Check back soon for day two of our Natchez Trace adventure, our journey from Tupelo to Natchez and on into Louisiana.


Shira said...

What fun! Beautiful dogs. (Oh. and scenery, of course.) If you come to NYC, let's arrange a whippet playdate. ...I noticed the pups on the leash hiking - is that local regs, or do you always keep them leashed?

Travelwithwhippets said...

Hi Shira - Most places we camp and hike require them to be on a leash. One of our dogs (the white one) was nicknamed "AWOL" by his breeder - he is true to that name because he tries to escape! The other one will not leave my side. (He thinks he's my protector.) A whippet play date would sure be fun if we get to NYC!