A National Scenic Road Walk?
Hiking the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway
Sometimes when you set yourself a goal, you may end up doing things you might not have necessarily put on the top of your list of things to do. In my case, walking the Natchez Trace Parkway. Some time, someone, somewhere approved the national scenic trail designation for the Natchez Trace. I would love to find out why. Why does a parkway with no shoulder and only five short trail segments have that status? Please tell me. Was it mistakenly moved from the National Historic Trail pile? Did papers get shuffled? What happened?
Fact is I have about 440 miles to ponder that question. In the last five days and 106 miles, I have not found an answer. So far I’ve hiked the most southern trail section called the Potkopinu. It was about three miles long and I had walked 17 road miles to get there. It was great to be off the road and quite interesting to see the sunken Trace, but the tread lacked maintenance. It was overgrown and had branches down over it. There was also a little creek ford which was the only clear water I’ve seen so far. After this section, it was back to the parkway.
The second section of trail around mile 53 on the third day was abandoned at the southern end so we passed on by it. I figured with only about 60 miles of actual trail there would be more maintenance, but it looks like I was living in fantasy land on that one.
At least the car traffic wasn’t too bad and the woods along the road are beautiful and green. I see an armadillo cross the road and a turtle in the grass. Butterflies are fluttering on the purple thistles and birds are chirping away happily. At night, the peepers and frogs put up a concert with the occasional owl hooting in the distance.
Around mile 96 there was a lovely 10-mile bike path paralleling the parkway. I loved it! Being away from the increased car traffic was a wonderful relief. Rain came pouring down, but with my umbrella up, it didn’t bother me none.
Rumor has it there is another decent trail section coming up. I’m looking forward to it!
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