Part 10: NOLA to Bay Springs Lake, MS


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The Trip

NOLA was a great time, as always.  We had a great dinner in the French Quarter having the "usual" Cajun cuisine. Next morning, we broke camp and left the French Quarter and headed north toward the Natchez Trace trail.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

As we went north, we were reminded that we were in the "bible belt".  We passed these crosses next to the freeway outside of Baton Rouge.

We traveled "normal" highway to get to the Natchez area.  As we cross the Mississippi river, we got a view of this casino housed in a faux riverboat.

From the bridge, we got a topside view of a huge barge being motored upriver.

The tugs used to push barges are very powerful.  Note the fantail currents from the prop.

We camped on the Louisiana side of the river in Vidalia, LA.  From our camp we could see the double bridges that span the river and connect Vidalia, LA and Natchez, MS.

We decided to explore Natchez and went to the riverside area of Natchez.

The path to Natchez-under-the-hill went down the cliff face.  I got Kathleen to pause and pose.

From the top of the hill, we could see more barges working their way upstream.  This barge is in a 6x6 configuration: 6 wide and 6 deep.

From Natchez, we headed north on the Natchez Trace.  The original Trace trail was the path that boatmen in the early 1800s used to walk home from Natchez to Nashville.  In the early days, barge travel was one-way only: downstream.  There was no method of fighting the current and going upstream.  So, goods were shipped downstream and the barges were dismantled and sold as raw materials.  The crews then walked upriver and repeated the cycle.  The Trace was traveled so heavily that the path turned into a trench that remains today.

To get a sense of scale, Bob is in the center of the photo above.  The sunken Trace is quite a sight and is visible from many points on the Natchez Trace road.

Bob got a photo of Kathleen and I in the sunken portion of the Trace.

The previous night, we had a large thunderstorm with plenty of rain.  The runoff from the storm caused the otherwise dry Owen's Creek to run strong resulting in this waterfall visible from the Trace.

The Trace is a beautiful drive with lush green grass and dense brush along the road.

We chose a campsite that was part of the Trace.  The camp was simple but adequate.  There was more rain overnight and the rain brought out this odd centipede.  I had never seen one that was red and black.

Next morning, we broke camp and continued north.  A short distance north of our camp, we passed an area that had been flattened by a tornado the previous year.  The damage was impressive.

The damaged area ran for miles and the path of tornado appeared to parallel the trace.  I cannot imagine the forces created the damage.

The path of the Trace is still used today as a hiking trail.

At one of the pull-outs, I took a photo of Thor.

The bright red color of Bob's 1300L provided a nice contrast to the vivid green of the surrounding forest.

Further north on the Trace we came on some indian burial mounds.  There were a number of these sites along the trace.

We traveled north to Tupelo, MS and came upon this 2-car accident site.  It is not clear what caused the accident, but since the other car was hit from behind, I have to assume that a cell phone was involved.

One of the occupants of the front car was carried off to the hospital in a cervical collar.

North of Tupelo, we crossed over the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway.  This was a barge route that was dredged in the 1970s by the Corps of Engineers.

We took an exit off the Trace to look at the canal.  From the exit ramp, we saw this beaver house built in the middle of the swamp.

The bridge over the canal was impressive and quite long. 

We could not get a view of the locks on the canal from the turn-out, so we re-crossed the bridge to get a photo.  After a photo or two, we had to turn around.  As part of the turn, we got our rear wheels off the road.  The previous night's rain left the ground saturated and soft.  We were spinning the wheels like crazy when we hit the clay-based mud.  We left some pretty good ruts as part of our passage.

The locks on Bay Springs Lake were nearly 100 feet high.  The lake provide the water for the locks.

The lock control tower was built out of poured concrete.

We got a nice camp at the Piney Grove campground.

Our campsite had a great view of Bay Springs Lake.

The Natchez Trace is a highly scenic road and is highly recommended by all that have traveled the path.  All of us really enjoyed the Trace so far and we are looking forward to the remaining portion of the trip.  Tomorrow, we will conclude the Trace and then head east toward Southeast MogFest at the Windrock OHV park.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
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