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|