Posts Tagged ‘Natchez Trace’

The Road Not Taken — and Kudzu  

Kudzu taking over the landscape. Photo by Pat Bean ,

Kudzu taking over the landscape. Photo by Pat Bean ,

            “Everyone has to make their own decisions … You just have to be able to accept the consequences without complaining.” – Grace Jones

Adventures with Pepper: Day: Day 53-54

After two sight-seeing filled days in Nashville, I stayed put at Nashville RV Park for an extra day so as to catch up on my journal, my writing, and some needed rest. I spent most of that day, however, replotting my route back to Texas.

Pin Oak Lake, Natchz Trace State Resort Park, Tennessee. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pin Oak Lake, Natchz Trace State Resort Park, Tennessee. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had planned to drive the entire Natchez Trace but was now reconsidering. I had previously driven the lower end of the trace, and if I only spent one day on the historic old foot path, I could cut miles and days off my trip back to Texas.

Usually when I get into an argument with myself about which route to take, the longer, slower, less traveled one wins the day. But my slow, beit fantastic, drive through Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway had been tiring.

I was also eager to once again hook up with kids and grandkids that I hadn’t seen in over half a year. So this time, after a night of sleeplessly continuing to mull the decision, I didn’t take Robert Frost’s less-traveled road, but his road-not-taken instead.

It was

A bit of color could be seen through the trees, but today's drive was mostly a green one. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A bit of color could be seen through the trees, but today’s drive was mostly a green one. — Photo by Pat Bean

a slow pleasant 150-mile drive in which autumn’s fall colors had been replaced by trees buried beneath kudzu. If you’re not from the South, you might ask what is kudzu.

It’s an invasive plant that grows and spreads over the landscape like uncontrolled wild fires, beautiful but deadly to plants that it envelops in its viny arms.

I ended the day at Tennessee’s Natchez Trace State Resort Park, where I hooked Gypsy Lee up beside Pin Oak Lake, took Pepper for a long walk, then settled down with her outside to watch the sun set over the lake.

I went to be still thinking about my choice of routes because the options were still ahead of me.

Book Report: Worked on Travels with Maggie for only a half hour this morning, stopping for a dentist appointment.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.


Bean’s Pat: Life out of the Box http://tinyurl.com/cptj25y The value of a notebook. This should give us all pause to be thankful for what we have.

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This remnant of the Natchez Trace took me back in history -- and made me think of fairy tale warnings about dark forests. -- Photo by Pat Bean


“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Travels With Maggie

 I was in Mississippi, headed west on Highway 84, with no campground reservation for the night. I was hoping the road would provide – and it did. Just outside the city of Natchez, I came across signs pointing the way to Natchez State Park.

 The public campground was yet another of those southern gems that had been enriching my travels for the past couple of weeks. It sits near the western terminus of the Natchez Trace, a 440-mile long ridge-line trail created by prehistoric animals traveling between bottom grasslands along the Mississippi River and salt licks near what is now Nashville, Tennessee.  The animal foot path was discovered and used by the Indians, and then by early European explorers and settlers.

I found the park so delightful that I spent three nights before altering my route to drive a short section of the trace. My eagerness to do so might have been influenced by the fact I had just recently read Nevada Barr’s murder mystery “Deep South,” which is set along the parkway, and the images she had painted of the scenery were still vivid in my mind. 

 It was a pleasant drive with almost no traffic through a landscape where human development has been banned. When I came across a place where the original trace was still visible, I stopped for a closer look. A National Park Service marker here informed me that “… The Natchez Trace was politically, economically, socially, and militarily important for the United States in its early development. Among those that traveled the road were American Indians, traders, soldiers, ‘Kaintucks,’ postriders, settlers, slaves, circuit-riding preachers, outlaws, and adventurers.”

Road marker along the parkway -- Photo by Pat Bean

 I felt like one of the latter when Maggie and I set foot on the remnants of that old footpath. It was if we were walking back in time. This section of the trail was closely hemmed in by trees whose limbs formed a roof above our heads. It was like walking through a tunnel, and the dim light that penetrated the ground brought to mind all those fairy tales that warned about being caught alone in the forest.

Back in my RV,  I followed the path of the Natchez Trace on my map all the way up to Nashville, but left it physically after only 28 miles. Driving the trace in its entirety is now on my bucket list.

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