The Natchez Trace: A Day Trip

Part One

So I’ve  been planning for a long time to take the opportunity to do a road trip down one of the most known roads in our area called Natchez Trace. Well this past Saturday was the perfect day to go out for a day trip, plus my cousin Sarah was visiting and I didn’t have to go by myself.

We started our day out later than we had originally planned because of how late we slept in but we were out and going about one that afternoon. Our first stop was at the Tennessee/Alabama State Line on the trace. Now most of the time when you’re traveling, there’s this sign that says welcome to whatever state you are entering. On the Trace it is completely different:

On the Trace,  travelers usually aren’t far from a stop to get out and stretch your legs and if you want to discover them, Collinwood, TN, carries maps of the Natchez Trace Parkway at their visitor center. Once we took our moment for an awesome photo opportunity – We really couldn’t say no with how beautiful it was – we headed on down the road to one of the more amazing marvels that is only a few feet off the trace on County Road 8.

Mr. Hendrix telling the shortened story of his great-great-grandmother, Tel-lah-nay

The Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall was a project started about fifteen years ago by a local Tom Hendrix. His great-great-grandmother, Tel-lah-nay, was one of the many Native Americans forced from their home lands around the Tennessee River – known to them as the Singing River. Tel-lah-nay is still to date the only Native American that traveled the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma in the 1800s and came back to her home lands in the state of Alabama.

The wall runs in two pieces along the front of Mr. Hendrix property. When you arrive, he is typically there from 8am-4pm and he tells you the – albeit shortened version – story of his great-great-grandmother and her journey both to and from Oklahoma as well as why he built the wall. The wall has grown over the past fifteen years and is now home to rocks from 127 different countries as well as rocks pulled from the Tennessee River. It will also soon host a rock from almost every Native American Tribe. These rocks are special as they represent all the Native Americans lost during the Trail of Tears as well as all of their ancestors and future members of the tribes.

After visiting with Mr. Hendrix and just being in the space, Sarah and I headed down to another rest stop nearby to visit the Rock Spring. Between beaver dams creating a small lake area and the natural flora, the area is amazing. During June, the ruby-red throated hummingbirds visit the area and feed from the different wildflowers in the area.

Our fourth stop for the day was at a picnic area at right before the John Coffee Memorial Bridge. On the map it’s just titled Lauderdale at marker 328.7. We didn’t really hang out here much as there were a lot of people around and fishing. I just snapped the photos below of Sarah in the lavender flowers.

Our last stop before moving on to an actual dinner was at the Buzzard Roost Spring a little past mile marker 320. We didn’t snap photos here because we really were just out to see it and had lost the light as the sun was going down. This was the majority of our day but our night gave us a second wind. Make sure to look out for part two later this week.