Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Natchez Trace Parkway

Monday, May 28 - We love national parks.  So, we'd been looking forward to drive about 90 miles of the 440 mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway, which is operated by the National Park Service.  The parkway follows the course of the old Natchez Trace, which was a major overland route from Natchez to Nashville, Tennessee before steamboats provided a faster alternative.

It's a very relaxing and scenic drive, with historic points along the way.  One of those historic sites is the Emerald Mound.  I have to say that I had never heard of a mound before I started reading up on the Trace.  Thus, today marked my very first mound visit. What's a mound, you ask?  It's a prehistoric ceremonial site.  This one was built and used from about 1200, and was still in use when the first Europeans arrived in the 1700s.  The Emerald Mound is the second largest mound in North America, is 35 feet high and covers about 8 acres.  The big mound actually has two smaller mounds on top of it.  That's me standing on top of the second mound (though it's hard to tell), which is about 60 feet high in total.

One more kinda cool pic...  Due to the way the topsoil settled in this area, some parts of the original Trace are actually sunken about 20 feet.  We took a short walk through one of these sections.  Nice for a little hike, but can't imagine going 440 miles through this...

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