Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Natchez Trace Parkway part 3- Mile Marker 444 to Tishomingo

Technically, we traveled the Trace "backwards".  We started at the north terminus (marker 444) and traveled south to the south terminus at Natchez.  

One of the first awesome items that you come across on the Trace is the Double Arch Bridge at Birdsong Hollow at mile marker 438. There is a pull off at the north end for a scenic view from above.  This bridge was completed in 1994 and received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence.  There is an exit at the south end of the bridge where you can go to the bottom and park for a view from the bottom looking up.

We stopped at mile marker 407 to see the historic Gordon House.
This house was built in 1817-1818.  It was the home of John and
Dorathea Gordon.  They operated a ferry at the nearby Duck River from 1801 until traffic on the Trace declined.  John died shortly after the home was completed but his wife lived there until her death in 1859 and carried on the ferry operation.

Our next stop was just a few miles down the road to take a short but steep walk to Jackson Falls.  This was a beautiful natural falls which was flowing very swiftly due to the recent heavy rains.

The walkway is paved and a fairly easy walk.  It is not near as difficult as Fall Creek Falls (as a comparison).  

The free Meriwether Lewis campground is at mile marker 386.  Even if you are not going to camp there, it is worth pulling into just to see a few of the items of historical significance.

This is the burial place of the famous explorer, Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame.  It is hard to believe that he was only 35 years old when he died.  There is some controversy about his death.  There are reports that someone shot Mr. Lewis but the theory that he committed suicide is the more accepted story about his demise.  You can visit the log cabin exhibit which goes into great detail about his life and death.  Meriwether Lewis is a decent size park with 3 campground loops, bathrooms (no showers), trails, exhibits, and a creek.  We did see water spigots so you can fill your fresh water tank for camping in self-contained campers.

On an amusing sidenote, we visited this campground earlier in the year and did not realize it has 2 entrances - one on the Parkway and one on Hwy 20.  We entered from the Parkway and drove around, got out, looked at the exhibits and then left, we thought, the same way we came in.  Once we got back on the road, nothing looked familiar.  We turned around and went the other direction but still nothing looked familiar.  We had just about decided we had either completely lost or minds or entered some twilight zone parallel universe when we figured out there was more than one entrance/exit to the park.  

At mile marker 377, we stopped at the Jacks Branch picnic area for lunch.  A walk down the stone steps leads to a flat picnic area with tables and grills next to a flowing creek.  It was a tranquil place to stretch our legs and have a little bite to eat.

Our final stop of the day before we pulled into Tishomingo State Park was Rock Springs nature trail along Colbert Creek.  It started
to rain as we began our walk and by the time we reached the creek, Ms. Sally Mae was getting annoyed at being out in the rain.  She wanted nothing to do with the split concrete steps that crossed the creek so we turned around and headed back to the truck.
We began this day at mile post 444 and ended at Tishomingo State Park in northeast MS at mile post 305.  Next post is a review of Tishomingo State Park.

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