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Natchez Trace and Natchez State Park (Part III):


 

December 4, 2010:                [Odometer 241784 - Mile Marker 193]           Today is Saturday and the traffic is noticeably heavier, especially as we went through the Jackson, Mississippi area. A lot of local people were enjoying the recreation the Trace has to offer including many cyclists, both foot powered and motorized.


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Shortly after we got on the way today, we heard a loud thump under the car followed by the sound of something dragging on the road under the car. Once again my visions of dire problems were, fortunately, eased when we found it was a small branch which I had not seen that had flipped up into the under carriage and lodged there. I pulled it out, and we were fine.


However, it caused us to pull over near this sign which shows another interesting part of the Indian history in Mississippi.

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The Pearl River Reservoir. The river was named because they found pearls here. The reservoir is beautiful.

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While here, we saw both white and blue heron.


Another short driving day brought us to the Rocky Springs campground for our second straight night of boondocking. Unfortunately, it was not very sunny today, which the weatherman had predicted it would be, so we did not recoup much of the electricity we had used before. However, by being conservative with what we used, we got through the night in good style.

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December 5, 2010:                This morning the temperature was in the low 40's and I don't believe it ever got above 45 degrees all day, which made sight seeing a bit nippy. We are nearing the end of our journey down the Trace and had two items we particularly wanted to see today, the Sunken Trace and the Emerald Mounds. We have also decided to stay at the Natchez State Campground for three nights to recharge the batteries, do some shopping, and do some laundry. We are also looking forward to a shower as these have not been readily available for the last few days.


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Much of the Trace is depressed due to all the traffic this one area of north-to-south pathway through the wilderness received, but this area is exceedingly deep. What appears to be a hill to my right in the picture on the right is actually the side of the pathway. Normal ground level is at what appears to be the top of the hill.

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Later in the day, we were getting near the end of the Trace. Both the Emerald Mound and the Natchez State Park appeared to be near Mile Marker 8. When we got to the location, it turned out that they were at the same crossroad, only the road to the right went to the Emerald Mound and the road to the left went to the park. It was still early in the day so we were going to go to the Mound first, but I took one look at the quality of the road and knew I did not want to try to haul the trailer over it, so we decided to go to the Park instead and go to the Mound tomorrow without the trailer.


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Our camp site. We got one of two pull through sites. After Tishomingo, I will always opt for pull through if possible, but more importantly, level. At Tishomingo, the front of the truck was aimed uphill while the trailer was level because the site bed was lower than the road. This made hooking up the anti-sway bars extremely difficult.

 

December 6, 2010:                Today we visited the Emerald Mound and then finished our trip down the Natchez Trace. It has been a wonderful trip and we definitely will repeat it. We saw deer every day, turkeys, a beaver, a flock of cardinals, turkey buzzards and other hawks I did not have the knowledge to identify, herons, geese, squirrels (the dogs' favorites) and 444 miles of beautiful scenery.


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Probably could have made it, but really, really, really glad I did not try to drive down the access road with the trailer in tow.

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View from the bottom.

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View from the top of the highest part (yes we climbed the whole thing) looking toward the other end of the mound (standing left looking right as depicted on the sign in the left-hand photo).

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Sign near the lower end (actually considered the start) of the Natchez Trace.

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THE END!!! The Sign at the South end of the Natchez Trace welcomes visitors, but it is our end point. We traveled the entire length, some parts more than once.


 

December 7, 2010:                Last night we heard a lot of noise in the sky and looked up to see many hawks or buzzards or some kind of birds of prey (actually several different kinds). This morning, the dogs and I roused them from their roosts in the trees next to the water. There must have been in excess of 50 birds. I took several pictures, but it is really impossible to get any good images at that distance with my little camera.


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The mist rises from the river/reservoir early in the morning.


 

Later in the day, we went for a long walk along a nature trail. I do not know how far we actually walked but it was in excess of a couple of miles. I gauged this based on the fact that, from the time we reached a known road, it was 800 yards back to the trailer and that was just the horizontal distance from start to finish. It did not include the distance traveled back and forth to the river/reservoir and beyond.


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We crossed three different foot bridges like this during our walk. JoJo really feared these bridges because there is space between the boards (I wasn't crazy about no hand rails) but she went across them anyway. It is special to watch her overcome her fears and tackle new things.

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Taz found this skull skeleton while we were on our walk. I have no real idea what it is, but the front reminded me of a turtle shape. If it was a turtle, it was huge.


 

This is the end of our trip down the Natchez Trace. Tomorrow we head South in search of warmth. I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into our trip. The next few months will probably be fairly boring by comparison as we winter, but stop back and check out the pages anyway. I'll add content when something significant happens.