Day 172 – Dec 19 2009 – Restoration and camaraderie at Rocky Springs, Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

Emerald Mound

Several years ago I took a trip to see some earthworks, prehistoric native sites where earthen mounds were constructed for burial and ceremony. Late on the second evening of the trip I was searching for a motel. I just wanted to get past Jackson Mississippi on my way to Natchez. I found a highway that on the map looked like a straight shot. It was the Natchez Trace Parkway…thinking a parkway is similar to a highway, boy was I off. It was pitch black, no lights, no cars, no stores or hotels and a speed limit of only 50. Some highway, right? I did see some signs for earthworks but too dark to check them out. Frustrated and tired I gave up, got off the road and found my way to a highway to my next destination…Poverty Point Louisiana. I just gave up the chance to see Emerald Mound.

Now years later I know what the Natchez Trace Parkway is. It is part of the National Park System and devoted to natural and cultural treasures, including earthworks. I stayed last night at the Rocky Springs Campground and enjoyed the friendship of some other boondockers like myself. The modern use of the term “boondocker”, also called dry camping, is used for people who camp, usually with a camper or RV and without modern conveniences; no electricity, water or sewage hookups. Camping becomes much more of an adventure, unbound by the common.

Armadillo, Rocky Springs Campground

As I took off this morning to explore the “Trace” I saw those same signs for earthworks that I had seen three years ago. After exploring and photographing them I continued to Natchez. Unbelievable, I was just minutes from the end of the Trace and Emerald Mound, the mound I hoped to see on my last trip. I was only twelve miles from Natchez, a town with many hotels. How close I was to the prize. It was just out of sight. I was tired and weary and just wanted a bed (this was long before my roughing it, boondocking days). I let comfort and frustration keep me from the goal. How often do we allow circumstances to keep us from reaching the goal? How often do we give up when Jesus wants to show us the answer that is just around the next bend?

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