I started at the site of the unknown Confederate graves and then proceeded to try and follow the "old trace".
The Natchez Trace had been used by settlers, traders, soldiers, and indians before all of the others.
There is evidence and artifacts that place people here as far back as between 1 to 200 A.D. Here's one link to some more information. Pharr Mounds Archaeology
Little did I know at this time not only is the "old trace" unmarked it is not maintained by the National Park Service. So, here we go, Layla put her nose to the ground and we took off.
We crossed a small county road then found ourselves looking at a boundary marker for the NPS.
Beyond which were two trees that had yellow bands about ten inches wide painted around the trees.
Normally I'd have taken that as a trail mark of some kind, except for the words "posted" painted in red.
At least I'm hoping it was paint.
Well, not being one to be held by boundaries we continued on what looked like a reasonable trail.
After slowing Layla down for forty minutes we came upon something that I think I saw in the TV show LOST. Remember the "hatch"that Locke found? Well maybe this resembled a squashed down umbrella tent more than that hatch , but from 30-40 feet I was sure that it didn't grow there. So we approached it carefully (Layla dragging me at a trot instead of full-speed ahead).
Turns out it was an older dish, sorry, satellite dish about four feet around. Yup, just sitting there in the middle of the woods, no I didn't check reception. As a matter of fact I didn't even turn it over to see what brand.
I can't imagine anyone bringing it out here, so perhaps this was tornado debris???
From that point the trail seemed to go off in three different directions. One of which, to the west-southwest would have been all wrong. You see the Natchez Trace was used to travel north and south so this oblique departure was most likely more modern. The other two choices could make sense, well sort of. The one to the right would have been more easterly and in line with what the NPS visitor center map showed as the trace. So I guess that's why we went left ;-) Sometimes the road less traveled makes perfect sense.
Actually the road to the right was about the same width and cover condition as the first trail I described.
Since there was a good chance that we were no longer on Park land I didn't want to take a chance of wandering into some patch uh, place I wasn't supposed to be. PLUS, it is prudent to exercise caution when in areas you are unfamiliar with as there may be ugly things hidden to prevent you from going down a particular trail. That's why Layla stays on a long leash that I can pull back on.
Well the "less traveled trail" was less traveled for a reason, it ended up behind a junk yard on the county road nearby. Now is the time to back away slowly....
Returning to the dish and following the trail to the right was less exciting it just vanished into the bottom of a small wash. I quartered the sun two times around in an increasing spiral but never found a hint of the trace.
So, we sat down near the dish ate our snacks and I went to the Visitor Center to inquire about trail markings and other handy stuff. NOW is when I find out 1) no trails markings 2) the old Trace is not fully maintained by the NPS 3) yes there has been property disputes and boundary issues. I'm still hoping it was red paint that spelled "posted". ;-)
Next post a quick trip to the Indian Burial grounds at Phar Mounds.