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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Natchez Trace....

The Natchez Trace Trek

ďThis looks like fun,Ē Honey said, reading an email. ďDo you want to go on a tour?Ē It didnít sound like fun to me, a bus tour of the Tennessee section of the Natchez Trace. I knew what it would be, a busload of senior citizens, thatís what.

In case youíve never heard of the Natchez Trace, let me explain. A trace is a path or trail through the wilderness, in this case thousands of years old. Natchez refers to an extinct Indian tribe that lived in the lower Mississippi River Valley. Natchez Trace is no longer a footpath; it is a two-lane paved road that stretches from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi.

Since the tour was in the distant future, I agreed to go. Time has a way of passing and eventually the day came for the trip. At the beginning of the tour, we crossed the famous double-arch bridge. Unfortunately, you can only see the arches from underneath the bridge and canít get down there.

There wasnít much scenery. The trees were close to the road and it was like driving between two green walls. We stopped at a house that remained from the time of the old trace. It belonged to the captain of a ferry boat that took early travelers across the Tennessee River. Unfortunately, the house is boarded up and you canít go inside.

Next stop was a monument for Meriwether Lewis, half of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition west. The trace was not part of that exploration. Lewis was traveling north from Louisiana and died at a tavern along the trace, apparently of suicide. The road was boring, Iíll admit, but not THAT boring.

We stopped at a scenic overlook to view the rolling hills of Tennessee. Afterwards, we had a picnic lunch and hiked to a waterfall. ďIt is a steep trail,Ē the guide told us, ďbut it is paved and there is a banister.Ē Steep is not the word for it. Mountain goats would turn in their resignation on this trail.

I didnít expect Niagara Falls at the bottom, but I did expect a waterfall worthy of all the effort. However, when I finally made it down, it was more of a trickle than a waterfall. And, if I thought going downhill was rough, it was nothing compared to climbing up. I clung to the banister sweating, gasping and hoping I would not have a heart attack.

Finally, back on the bus, I found that a bottle of water I had left on the seat leaked, so my pants were soon soaking wet. We passed a log cabin that was a replica of the cabins from the time period when the old trail was used. The bus didnít stop. I suppose that historians do not like replicas.

The old trace was abandoned in the 1800ís when better means of transportation, such as steamboats and railroads, became available. Prior to that, it was used by pioneers who transported goods downstream on river boats, sold them for gold, and took the trail back home. At one time it was used by Andrew Jackson to move his troops.

It was a difficult journey in the rough terrain of swamps, rivers, and hills. Robbers and murderous gangs stalked the trail stealing from travelers. Nowadays there are no robbers, unless you call the amount of money we spent for the trip highway robbery.

The road would probably be beautiful in the fall when leaves are changing. If you are young, you might enjoy it. However, if you are over 50 and decide to go, stay off the waterfall trail. You could die on that trail.

Iíve heard that the road is more scenic in Alabama and Mississippi. Maybe one day we can drive the entire 444 miles. If so, I hope I will not spill a bottle of water on my seat.


Copyright 2015 Sheila Moss

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