Natchez Trace and Grand Gulf

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Our drive today is a short one, about 25 miles. At most we’ll add another 35 miles to take the circumpolar route to Grand Gulf. Access to the Natchez Trace Parkway isn’t too far away- so let’s slip on over there! We head north on highway 61, then southeast on MS 27. We travel through ranch and farmland. It’s a pleasant drive for sure. We pass over the Parkway, then make access on a spur road. Our experience of the parkway is this: a quiet drive with little traffic, the road is very good as it’s maintained by the National Park Service. Good signage with quite a few turnouts to points of interest large enough for at least one big rig. The speed limit through this mostly wooded parkway is 50 mph- we cruise along usually at no more than 45 mph. How relaxing is this parkway!

An excerpt from the National Park Service:

A Drive through 10,000 Years of History

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the parkway.

Sections of the Old Trace are the common ground that connect us to the stories of people across centuries. The most celebrated travelers of the Natchez Trace were farmers and boatmen from the Ohio River regions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky floating supplies down to ports in Natchez and New Orleans at the beginning of the 1800s.

Regardless of where they came from, they were collectively known as “Kaintucks.” But the story of the Natchez Trace is not just about the Kaintucks. The Old Trace ran through the heart of Choctaw and Chickasaw country. It also ran through a series of mounds that had been built by people over the previous 2000 years and through a diverse terrain of swamps, rivers, and rolling hills that provided significant obstacles for travelers. More info here:

Our destination is Grand Gulf Military Park a few miles from Port Gibson. The Parkway takes us within a mile of Port Gibson and 12 miles from Grand Gulf Military Park. We exit the Parkway and head towards a very fascinating place.

Rodney Sacred Heart Catholic Church now Nondenominational
Organ’s Pipes are Made of Wood!

History alone makes this a worth the stop. Within the park are artifacts from the now extinct town as well as the town’s cemetery.

Grand Gulf Cemetery
Ornate Fence
Overgrown Grave Marker by- Bamboo!

An OK RV park is within its boundaries and that’s where we will spend the night. As far as we are concerned Grand Gulf Military Park is a “must see”. This is our second visit so it must be! So nice to hear the sound of crickets and other creatures this evening.

Scotia House
One Man Submarine Powered by Model T Engine Used to Bootleg Booze
Jail Cell Constructed Of Riveted Steel Slats
Sugar Cane Dump Cart
Observation Tower
Period Carriages
Ornate Hursts

And the moon is visible through wafer thin clouds- the weather is warm tonight. We only have one neighbor, the road is a long way off, so I let the mutzos out after dark to do their business. Off they go up the hill! What the? Megan goes over to some downed tree branches that seem to cover a hollow then takes off up the steep slope. Doyle spends more time near the downed branch. More time, more time, more time. Megan crests the hill and disappears for a moment. Doyle flushes an Armored Dillo, er, armadillo. The animal gives Doyle a head fake and goes back in its hideout.

More on Grand Gulf Military Park and Port Gibson here:


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