All through Mississippi Paul & I were especially eager to meet up with the Natchez Trace just north of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. We rode almost 60 miles the day prior just to get up to the parkway. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a two lane road setup by the National Park Service. It follows the original footpath that led travelers from Natchez, a primary port town at what used to be a southwestern limit to the United States, to Nashville Tennessee, the terminus.
The Trace was first formed by deer trails and other natural seams in the forest. Native people including the Choctaw and Chickasaw walked these paths to move throughout the land. After centuries of foot traffic these paths became ingrained in the soil, at places 30 ft. deep. With the rise of the white man and civilization in the form of towns and water transportation people would drift down the Mississippi and walk north using the trail system. Stands were setup along the way to help the traveler.
No longer in full use, the Natchez Trace has faded with the advent of the automobile and paved roads. We traveled the Parkway in remembrance of those that traveled by foot, sometimes risking their lives.
Passing through Jackson we stopped at the state news paper, the Clarion-Ledger. They interviewed us and photographed us in their courtyard. After stopping at a café, Paul & I continued south on the Trace, traveling to Natchez, to see a historic and wealthy town, prospering from the Mississippi river and it’s rich heritage.