Bill's Blog

Bill's Vacation - Weds. AM Summary

It was a sunny and cool Tuesday, as Gayle and I traveled north on the Natchez Trace.  We were reTRACEing our steps, as we decided to return to Nashville the same way we came down.  So, we went from Nashville TN to Natchez MS on the Natchez Trace and returned the same way, stopping at places we didn't stop at on the way down.  The top picture shows the day we had...yet another clear and bright day, though cooler.  We reached a high of 49 on the car thermometer with a cool, north wind.  The top pic. shows the Barnett Reservoir near Jackson.  With a combination of pine trees and oaks that still had their brown leaves...it looked more like summer than winter.  There  were several boats on the lake and we saw several fountains in the Jackson area that were still running and had not been turned off for the winter. 

Here's another pic. showing how big the reservoir really is.  It's 52 sq. miles of water - the city of Grand Rapids MI is approximately 45.3 square miles.  The lake is relatively new...construction bagan in 1960 and was completed in 1963.  It took until 1965 for the Pearl River to fill the lake.  The clarity of the water averages 2 feet.  The lake has an average depth of 11 feet and a maximum of 60 feet near the dam.  The earthen dam is 3.5 miles long.  There are 105 miles of shoreline and the lake has 5 campgrounds and 22 boat launches.  There are now 4,600 homes on the lake, mainly on the south shore.  It's 16 miles long and 7 miles wide at its widest point.  The lake holds the state records for smallmouth bass (57 lbs., 12 oz.) and Paddlefish (65 lbs.) and Bowfin (18 lbs, 14 oz.).  My youngest daughter got her Master Angler's Patch with a big bowfin she caught in the Frankfort MI Channel.  The water level is taken down 6" in the winter to provide some room for spring flooding.  The city of Jackson now gets their water from the reservoir.  Waterspouts have occurred on the lake on 4/15/2011, 8/19/2012 and on 7/23/2014. 

Farther north, here is the John Coffee bridge on the Natchez Trace over the Tennessee River.  The bridge is nearly a mile long and it's named after a General who fought with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.  The river is much wider than it used to be here, due to the Pickwick Landing Dam, a few miles downstream.  The dam and nearby town are named after the title character of the Charles Dickens' novel, the Pickwick Papers.  

Colbert's Stand - George Colbert, half Scot and half Chickasaw operated a ferry across the Tennessee River from 1800 to 1819. His stand, or inn, offered travelers a warm meal and shelter during their journey on the Old Trace. Colbert looked after his own well being and once charged Andrew Jackson $75,000 to ferry his Tennessee Army across the river. Here and about 20 other stands along the Trace, "Kaintuck riverboatmen, money-laden businessmen, Indians and outlaws shared a spot of fellowship on a long hazardous road."

This is near the stone walls built by Tom Hendrix to honor his great-great grandmother.  During a conversation with an elder of the Yuchi tribe he was told "All things shall pass. Only the stones will remain."   Look at a cemetery and you can see how true that statement is for just about everybody. 

This was the view from the Busby overlook, the highest point in the area.  There were a number of paper wasps flying around in the rafters of the shelter and several more really big spiders. 

I try and walk everyday, so I decided to take the trail down the mountain from the overlook.  It was about 70% downhill, 20% flat and 10% uphill.  I had to stop and look a few times to make sure I stayed on the path, because there were so many leaves on the ground.  A highlight on the way down was a spring coming out of a rock...not a lot of water...maybe half the water you get when you turn on a faucet, but still interesting to see it coming out of a solid rock.

There are still a few wildflowers in bloom here in Mississippi - this is a very pretty dandelion.  This was a different yellow flower:

You can't tell in the picture below, but there were fields of these purple flowers.  The flowers were filled with honey bees:

We continued to drive into the evening.  Once we got to sunset, the deer came out.  We almost hit one and we saw half a dozen cross in front of us at several different spots...with another 30-40 on the side of the road.  One of the deer we saw was a magnificent 6-point buck that came within about 30 feet of the car.  It must be used to the gawking tourists, because it didn't move much as we drove very slowly past.  We also saw turkeys in several spots.  One flock of turkeys on the road took to flight as we approached...it's seldom I've seen turkeys flying. 

Gayle and I ended the day at Jonathan's in Nashville...two for one pizza night!  Yummy!  On to Oak Ridge TN tomorrow to spend a little time with my mother...then home.  I'm back to work on Saturday. 


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