The opportunity to see wonderful museums in different parts of the country is a great part of this life. We have certainly seen some incredible ones over the last few weeks. Still, we prefer the natural wonders of this country.
I'm not sure what to expect in the Jackson, Mississippi area, but I'm hopeful we can get back into nature.
Our 235 mile drive on Saturday is nice and sunny, and we get set up at Springridge Mobile Estates and RV Park in Clinton about 2:00. This is not a destination park. At the front of a large mobile home park are 12 tight spaces on asphalt. There is no park WiFi. But everything works well, FHUs with 50 amp, open skies, clean. There is a lot of resident traffic, but it's surprisingly quiet. It works as a stopping spot between Memphis and the gulf coast, and there are decent stores nearby.
After football and a quick run to Target on Sunday, Monday morning we head out under cloudy skies. And warm temps! It almost gets to 70 degrees before the day is over. So lovely.
Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile road from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Part of the National Park Service, it has a wonderful history, and one of the most beautiful and diverse forests I've ever seen. Today we go east with a swamp as our goal.
Sharing much of its history with the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the Old Trace saw the passing of Native Americans, traders, settlers, soldiers and eventually commuters. Throughout the drive are several points of history.
|Though most are on the ground, there is a surprising amount of leaf color for this late in the season.|
|Each turn-out has these large signs defining the significance of the location.|
|The Visitor Center is only open on Friday and Saturday, but we pick up a pamphlet that identifies all the stops. Note there are very few access/exit roads on the Trace, even fewer restrooms, and nothing commercial.|
|Some of the stops have short trails to the original Old Trace, worn deep in many areas.|
|This stop has a boardwalk to the back of the Mississippi Craft Center. We didn't go in, but it's free and looks interesting.|
|The Ross Barnett Reservoir is visible along several miles with parking spots on a small peninsula.|
|A little fog bank gives the water an eerie feel.|
|Archeologists dated artifacts in these mounds at 700 A.D. and tell us that a home was built here around 500 A.D.|
|Big furry branches|
|next to skinny, naked ones|
|We stand on what was the western border of West Florida in 1764.|
|I love this sign where we reach our destination at Tupelo Baldcypress Swamp. We read it. Then we do it...|
|Just a few feet in, the magic begins.|
|Cypress reflections on black water|
|A very tall camel keeps an eye on us.|
|while this guy keeps two eyes on us......magic.|
|When the Pearl River changed course several years ago, a shallow area was created by the deposition of sediment. This aquatic forest of Cypress and Tupelo took hold during periods of standing water.|
|Just a small difference in elevation makes a big difference in the forest.|
|Cue the dinosaurs......|
|No idea what stripped this tree's bark - all the way around, all the way up. I might have walked a little faster after we found this.|
|A gathering of Knees.|
With a storm expected south of us, we cancel our stop in Hattiesburg, and extend here for a couple days. We never do make it to Jackson. After our experience driving east, we decide to drive west on the Natchez Trace. Enough to save for a separate post :-)
Meanwhile, back in SoCal - our grandsons just keep getting cuter-er!!
|Max, full of wonder at all there is to see|
|Ezra getting caught by Mommy|
Outstanding photo choices, Jodee! You really gave us a true feeling for the unusual beauty in this area. One day I really would like to drive the entire trail. We really enjoy having signage all along the route. Looks like they did a nice job here. Love, love that sign for the Cypress Swamp! I do believe that should be posted more places. That really does look like a camel over seeing everything:) Walking along a leaf covered trail has such a relaxing sound:)ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, those grandsons are definitely getting cuter:) Thanks for sharing the latest photos:)
Thanks Pam! There was something about the cloudy day that made the forest just wonderful. And with no one on the trails when we stopped, it was so quiet and truly magical. I agree that sign should be in more places :-)Delete
Having the trail to yourself was a special treat:) Really allows you to appreciate nature's quiet. Hope it doesn't get too cold for you tomorrow!!Delete
I agree .. fabulous photos!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jeri - it is a beautiful place.Delete
Thanks Lisa - we agree!Delete
The trees changing really added to the pictures. Love the cypress swamp.ReplyDelete
I thought so too - the trees were all so different and made it very special.Delete
This is really cool, Jodee. Looks like you picked the oerfect time of year to visit. Your photos have an ethereal feel to them. Very nice.ReplyDelete
I can't imagine it would be as cool in the Spring, and I know Summer it would be hot and humid, so I really think this was perfect. We didn't see any critters but the forest itself felt very alive.Delete
Those are definitely cute grandsons! Your furry tree is covered in resurrection fern. That it is green testifies to the wet environment. I love love swamps. Wish you'd just buzzed on down to Florida. We could have gone swamping together. I had once thought I'd like to take Winnona up the trace and stop at the campgrounds along the way but I read that there are prohibitive bridges along it. Did you find that to be true?ReplyDelete
They aren't marked but the bridges look under 13' to me. There are no commercial vehicles allowed on the trace so it's not a road made for bigger vehicles - no shoulders in most places. But the Rocky Springs campground would probably fit Winona and it's just off an access road so I don't think you'd go under a bridge. There is also a great bike path - made me miss our trikes! Love the name of the fern!!Delete
Oh! And there are electric hookups in the park by the Ridgeland marina on the reservoir!Delete
Love the tree color, especially on the ground. The reservoir, fog and swamps make for great pictures too. And of course that adorable grandson!ReplyDelete
It was so fun to see such different landscapes here!Delete
We have travelled the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Nashville in our Allegro Bus. The trace is A great scenic trip with many points of interest. You can pick up a brochure at any of the trace informations centers that describes all of these and has a mile marker map of the trace.ReplyDelete
Timberlake Campground on the Ross Barnett Reservoir is a great campground. Also Le Fleurs Bluff campground in Jackson is set in a pretty park near a public golf course. The sites are more rustic but the setting is nice. The Mississippi Widlife Museum, The Miisissippi Ag Museum and The Mississippi Children's Museum are all near that campground.
Also near you in Clinton there is a cute downtown historic district and the Mississippi College Campus is very scenic.
I am really surprised that your bus could clear those bridges, but it's good to know for next time. We wanted to see the ag museum as something different but with the rains I thought the walks outside would be muddy - lots to see next visit. Thanks for all the good info Phillis!!Delete
I am so unfamiliar, and intrigued, with this kind of environment and would definitely take my time as it has a slow look to it. Dense, yet open, almost surreal. And yes, intensely magical. The mist brings out the subtle contrasts and colors which you captured superbly.ReplyDelete
Thanks Gaelyn. You'd have a lot of fun wandering this area - it is a place that really slows you down the more you're there.Delete
Beautiful Jodee! The cypress trees are magnificent and I fell in love with the resurrection plant (the furry branches) several years ago near Destin.ReplyDelete
Always enjoy of Ezra and Max...they are growing so fast!
Yes, those ferns are so pretty, and really add an interesting layer. Those boys need to slow down :-)))Delete