Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Natchez Trace — Part 2

The Natchez Trace is such a beautiful road it's hard to imagine it as a "snake-infested, mosquito-beset, robber-haunted, Indian-traveled forest path." It was also a constant work in process as new pathways were cut to accommodate changing natural conditions. There are many places along the way where you can see small sections of the original -- or at least old -- Trace.

A dozen or so miles into our drive this morning, we crossed into the very northwest corner of Alabama. A few miles after that we crossed the beautiful Tennessee River. In case you are wondering, the deal that Happy and I have on road trips is simple: If we stop for more than a minute, she's allowed to get out of the truck for a look-see in her own way. Believe me, she makes the most of her explorations!

One of the heaviest early uses of the Natchez Trace was by folks from Kentucky and Tennessee who would build flat boats to float their crops and merchandise down the Tennessee-Ohio-Mississippi River complex to the Gulf. There they would sell their goods -- including the boats for lumber -- then walk back north on the Trace. Steam power changed this routine to a round-trip river journey.

Until midday today, the Trace has been almost completely tree-line by various hardwoods. We've now crossed one of the major ecosystem dividing lines and are into some more open areas with softer trees. The Trace crosses several ecosystems and many watersheds along its 444 mile course.

The weather has been spectacular and is predicted to continue tomorrow, but Friday is supposed to be pretty crappy. So, we are going to push a little farther than we have the past two days and aim for Jackson, MS. After that it will be a shorter run to the terminus in Natchez, MS, to minimize bad weather driving... Stay tuned!

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