Natchez Trace

The broad Mississippi was flowing slowly past the campsite as I got my day started. I showered and packed up then called ahead to the Goshen Springs Campground to make sure they are open and they are. Just put the money in an envelope to keep contact to a minimum. I drove back over the river to the Mississippi side and was soon on the Natchez Trace Parkway heading north towards Tennessee.

A beautiful green, tree lined boulevard and it stayed that way all day long. Kind of like a Disney attraction, it was too perfect, almost felt unreal. The speed limit is a slow 50 mph giving travelers permission to take it easy and have a look around. The traffic was negligible, especially for the first hour and a half.

A few of the featured historical stops caught my attention. I paused for a break at one of the original inns along the route, the Mount Locust. Besides Cali and me, there was one couple at the usually busy tourist stop. Cali made the hundred yard or so hike to the old inn and wandered around the grass while I had a look inside. Pretty cool stuff. In the 1700s, Kaintucks from the Ohio River Valley would float goods down the Mississippi on big flat boats then sell their goods in New Orleans or Natchez. They’d take the boats apart and sell the lumber since going upstream with them was impossible. Then they’d have to make the hike back up the 500 miles of the Natchez Trace. As trade grew, a series of inns appeared along the trail. The Mount Locust is the last one standing.

The Natchez Trace has been used for thousands of years. First, by Native Americans then the Spanish when Mississippi was still part of Florida. Afterwards, French and English colonists used it to move to points south. Over the centuries some areas of the trail have worn themselves kind of “below ground level” in grooves in the earth known as Sunken Trace. We took a rest at one site and I did a short hike to see the phenomenon. Cali chose to sit this out but it was a cool little walk through the rich green forest.

We stopped at a few more historical markers but the afternoon was getting away from us, so we kept on the road until we reached the off ramp by the large Barnett Reservoir. There were tons of boats scooting around the waters of the lake, all keeping a good social distance of course. I picked a campsite at the Goshen Campground directly across from the boat ramp. I plugged in and opened the slide out. After setting Cali up with a little A/C, I pulled out the SUP and went for a paddle around our corner of the reservoir.

Here’s one for you, Pop

I paddled out the narrow channel keeping half an eye out for stray alligators. I got into the open water and paddled towards the bridge that leads to the larger portion of the reservoir. Boats would blow by seemingly doing their best to create the biggest wake possible, even in the no wake zones. I did a big loop turning at the bridge and following the shore along the road.

The reeds were thick on the way back. There must be good fishing there because several boats were floating as close to the bull rushes as they could get casting their lures along the edge of the greenery. I found a shallow canal along the far shore and followed it over to the channel leading back to camp. Good to get a little exercise after so many hours driving.

The campground is close enough to Jackson that I was able to get a few news channels to keep me abreast of the Covid situation and to get an update on the weather. A few phone calls, dog walks and a quiet evening in the RV.

3 thoughts on “Natchez Trace

  1. What a tranquil drive. The road was beautiful compared to some of the roads you suffered through in Mexico. The Battle of Raymond – it reminded me that today is the 1st. anniversary of my brother Ray’s death. PJ can tell you sometime of our relationship. You’re really zipping along in Minnie Winnie, which brings you closer to RI. Drive safely. Stay healthy. Love, Meema


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