Imagine for a moment, having to travel 440 miles through a wilderness and the above road being your best chance at success. 440 miles of wild animals, thieves, cut-throats, Indians, pack peddlers, circuit-riding preachers, adventurers, explorers, settlers, etc... The above is a picture of a small stretch of the historical Natchez Trace about 8 miles north of Natchez Mississippi just off the modern Natchez Trace Parkway. This pic is actually pretty tame - this part of the old trace is being maintained by the Forest Service. I've seen other similar pictures of the old Trace that are much more ominous. Steeply eroded sides rising sometimes as much as 30 feet above the muddy trail, overgrown with vegetation and overhung with old trees and vines blotting out the sun. Imagine being waylaid on such a road 150 miles from anything resembling civilization - makes you want to know something about self-defense.
Natchez itself is a lovely town. It has much of what makes New Orleans great and lacks much of what makes New Orleans horrible. We'd already done the downtown antebellum thing before, so we visited the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and looked around the mounds then stopped by at the Melrose plantation mansion/museum that had closed 30 minutes early (boo!) then jetted out to the Trace and looked at the above, passed by Emerald Mound and turned around at a historic inn (which was also closed for the day (boo!) We need to take a driving trip up the parkway from Natchez to Nashville this fall and plan our drives so we can see more of the cool historical stuff on the Trace.
Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that we stopped at Bowie's Tavern and Outfitters in Natchez. You know you're in the South when you can buy a knife, a gun, and a beer in the same establishment. We bypassed the guns and knives and availed ourselves of the beer.