Sunday, March 29, 2015

The start of the Natchez Trace

The Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi into Alabama and ending south of Knoxville, Tennessee. The Trace started with the Natchez, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian nations. Later travelers, soldiers, “Kaintucks”, etc. made the Trace larger.
We started the Trace around 10:00 this morning, using the brochures from the National Park Service that shows what is at certain mile markers and their map. We missed the very first stop; didn’t see anything beside the road, not realizing you had to turn off and then we didn’t know if we could get in and back around with the RV and Jeep. We stopped at the Old Trace Exhibit Shelter and cemetery. The cemetery wasn’t even mentioned. We just noticed a mowed path to some trees and a small fence there. So we followed the path.
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Next was a turn off the road, again didn’t know if we should take it or not, to Emerald Mound. The map doesn’t state how far off the parkway road it is, so once we got to a narrower road we stopped and brought up Google Earth so we could see where we’d end up. It’s a narrow road, would work better with the tow vehicle but we made it in and out okay. If there would have been a lot of cars parked in the lot, it would have been tricky. Emerald Mound is the second largest temple mound in the US at 8 acres.
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Mount Locust Inn and plantation was built in 1780. Shortly after that, with a growing number of travelers walking the Trace, the family turned their home into a “stand”, which was nothing more than a crude inn. A staple corn crop enabled the family to offer a meal of corn mush and milk with sleeping arrangements on the porches and grounds. A four-room two-story annex was erected behind the house. A traveler would pay 25 cents for their food and lodging. By the mid-1820s the steamboat and other roads pretty much brought an end to the Natchez Trace.Mount Locust had up to 51 enslaved people at one time. There is a separate slave cemetery and a family cemetery on the grounds.
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Sunken Trace is a short trail through a deeply eroded section of the Original Trace.
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Owens Creek Waterfall used to be a waterfall, now it’s more of a trickle. The water table has dropped.
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Rocky Springs has a free primitive campground, picnic area, restrooms, and an old historic town site. We were going to stay at the campground but there is no cell service and I needed cell service for our Google Hangout birthday party tonight. (Granddaughter’s 8th birthday over the internet - Happy birthday Calissa!) 
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