Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Natchez Trace Pt. 4

I've been trying to finish these posts for a long time, but for some reason it has just never happened.  I'm finally going to close this chapter.  It's only five months late!  I've actually got another trace trip planned for the end of September, so I figure I should probably finish writing about this trip before going on another.  If you are new to my site here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I woke up with an optimistic spirit that third day.  I spent the previous evening thinking about where this trip would take me after leaving the trace.  I had some options with only 50 miles left to go.  I could head west back towards the Mississippi River and make my way home back through the delta.  On the other hand, I could head east and head up towards the Smokey Mountains for a little change of scenery.  As I left the campsite, that morning, I still hadn't made up my mind, but I had a little bit of time to figure that all out.  I just knew that I wanted to be off the trace by noon to allow myself plenty of time to make it to my next destination.  

After packing up my campsite I headed back to the grave site of Meriwether Lewis to pay my final respects.  That place really spoke to me and ended up holding some significance for me in the end.  I was just so amazed at all that one 35 year life could accomplish.

The final section of trace is rich with waterfalls, abandoned mines, and other caves.  Basically, full of things we don't have back home on the coast.  There are many worthy stops along those final fifty miles.  

View above a former phosphate mine.

Fall Hollow

Tobacco Farm

Section of Old Trace

Duck River Falls

Turkeys on the side of the trace.

After crossing this bridge into Franklin only a couple of miles of trace remain ahead.  I had a decision to make; East or West?  When I finally got off the trace, I stopped for gas and lunch and made my decision.  I was heading east towards the mountains.  I stopped at a visitor's center after passing through Nashville.  I was looking for info into campsites in the Chattanooga area.  I could make it there by dark and make some plans on continuing.  I pressed on into Chattanooga and picked out a campground, but this is when my plans all changed.

After spending the last few days on the trace, the traffic and population of Chattanooga was ultimately overwhelming.  It was hard to believe how crowded this place way.  I couldn't take it.  I just couldn't stand the idea of staying somewhere like that at the moment.  Hwy 59 runs right into Chattanooga, so I took the exit there and headed south.  I was back without plans.  My only plan was south.  I had decided that I would just start heading that way and if anything peaked my interest I would stop.  

Shortly after my turn south I knew the plan.  The only thing that was going to stop me was the Gulf of Mexico.  I was heading home.  From where I was it was going to be around a seven hour trip.  The traffic on Hwy 59 was nothing like what I had just seen, so it was a bit of relief to have long stretches of highway to myself.  I set my iPod to play and pressed on until I finally hit my driveway.  I unlocked my front door, walked in, closed the door behind me, and the trip was over.

Until Next Time,

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1 comment:

Misti said...

Looks like a great trip! It's too bad the Trace isn't a long hikeable trail, though I think driving it sounds nice too!

The grave of Meriweather Lewis looks interesting as well....east of Billings, MT at Pompeys Pillar is William Clark's signature etched in the is a crazy thing to see and to think on, how quiet it must have been when he passed through.