Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Natchez Trace Auto Hike

The Natchez Trace is an old trading route and historic forest trail that connects Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee. It stretches over 440 miles, about 710 kilometers.

The trail was blazed by Native Americans and later extended to become a full scale travel route for wagons. Today it is a parkway mostly for cars. Cycling is permitted and I did encounter some groups on bicycles. The parkway offers some stops at historical sites or hiking trails as well as some overlooks.

I took the trace from Natchez to a crossing shortly before the town of Carthage, Mississippi, which covered about 140 miles of the Trace. I passed through Jackson (the state capital) without noticing anything urban, apart from an increased traffic over a few miles. But as the parkway has only controlled access ramps and is not open to commercial traffic there was not much traffic out of Jackson.

In Germany we have the word "autowandern" which means that you drive through beautiful landscape, where you would usually go on foot as that will give you a more complex experience: the change of temperature when walking out of the sun into the shade and vice versa, the complex smells of vegetation, the sound of birds and insects, and the experience of slowly moving through the landscape which will allow your vision to absorb the surroundings much more thoroughly.

When on auto hike, you can sit in your air-conditioned car with your favorite radio station tuned in not noticing anything else than the beautiful landscape. I did roll down my windows once in a while – although it was hot – and stepped out of the car a few times to get some idea of the smells and the heat – and the mosquitoes.

You can even get rid of your trash without leaving the car; I took this photo for all the Germans who have never seen a drive-through garbage can.

No comments: