adventures in spontaneous hiking on trails at Boyd Mounds site, near madison ms

hiking and shooting, I mean. or, shooting photos

I mean, heaven forbid. I wasn't shooting people or animals. Our here, however, I would have been shooting both, if I had been shooting from a rifle or gun.

Alright, let's get on with it! OK. This is my first, non-PoliSci classroom attempt to do one of these storytelling things through Adobe Spark, a platform for telling stories via video or multi-media. I took a class for use of Adobe products in education earlier this year, and had been particularly interested in the Spark Pages feature, which I'm using here. I thought I could use it for plenty of purposes, from presentations to telling the stories behind my own photo jaunts or trips away. (I'm also encouraging students to use it, as an alternative to Power Point.)

Alright. Alright. Let's Get to the Gallery.

Yes, yes. I could go on and on about how the Adobe class encouraged certain templates to tell stories, a la Joseph Campbell's idea of "The Hero's Journey" and such. But I've just put together a gallery of photos here, ones I went out taking on sort of a whim this past Sunday, which in this case was March 26, because it was nice out then. And, as is often the case with me on nice nice days, I decided to head out to bits of the federal Natchez Trace Parkway near the Jackson suburbs of Ridgeland and Madison MS.

Can You Kind of See Why Here?

I mean, look at this place. You can see one of the mounds in the intro at the top, just to the right of this.

The Boyd Mounds Site and Environs

This is one of the less-frequented of what I, who grew up near the Trace in Kosciusko MS (about an hour away from here) have always called "stops;" that is, one of the dozens of places you can pull off to see sites of historical importance, sections of the original, sunken Natchez Trace, picnic and camping sites, and natural wonders. Several sites are dedicated to prehistoric mounds of Native Americans, among them this one. What most people do not realize, however, is that behind the mounds site are well-beaten (although occasionally blocked, via Nature doing its thing) trails through with no small amount of natural diversity. There are swampy areas back here, ones with Spanish moss hanging from trees, and views of the man-made, and unfortunately named, Ross Barnett Reservoir.

You pass by "The Rez," as locals call it, in whatever direction you approach this site. You also pass by some of the loveliest bits of any scenic road around the Southeastern U.S. Seeing the beauty in not-as-heralded landscapes, like Central Mississippi's, is sometimes just a matter of presentation.

The trails off the Boyd Mounds Site are a reminder that the same sites can look just as as beautiful, and seem even more interesting, off the well-designed road.

Some samples below, from in and around the trails' beginnings. Click for larger views.
At the Barnett Reservoir
The water's edge of The Rez. You can see the Trace's edge across the water, in the background.

then i kept going

I'd gone all the way to the Rez on these trails before, but had stopped there. But the trails keep going.
Here's where they end up, more or less. This was just a step or two from someone's backyard. Look carefully and you can see the Trace's roadbed in the background. It almost looks like a levee.
A step to the left, and onto a drainage pipe, gave me this view
Click for larger views. But, this deserves an explanation first.

Oh Gosh. What's This?

Oh, above are photos of a sort I didn't share through social media. These show you that, no matter how much out in the wild you feel, you're still out in the suburbs. Or maybe, out in the suburbs, you're still not as far from the wild as you might think? That's a matter of perspective, maybe. It's pretty striking to see, though. I can remember seeing houses on the shore of the reservoir, and to the Trace's west, ever since I was a child, at least in the late '70s. Large neighborhoods have grown up behind those homes since that time.

On the way to this site of the water's edge photo, you have to go under a Trace bridge. There you see colorful, painted evidence of The Human Teenager, some of it vaguely vulgar and involving cursing of society and a mention of "drugs."

Did I mention that I was getting kind of sweaty and muddy by this time? Well, I was getting sweaty and getting mud on my jeans and running shoes. This is what happens when you do not dress for spontaneous hiking and photo shooting. (I had on a cheap St. Patrick's Day shirt from a blood bank, wasn't being Mr. Fancy.)

Now, back to nature--or, the way back. I'd really missed the main trail on the way to the Rez, but then caught on it before leaving. Glad I did. Reason: The drama. Spring was just, well, springing or sprung or what have you here, and that mixed with the hanging moss made fro some out-of-the-ordinary shots.

Click for larger views, as usual.

I had taken shots of this area before, but toward the end of winter, rather than the beginning of spring. Even so, I was just as enthralled both times. Then I had to drag myself away from here. No one was around, I thought, so I was taking video and experimenting with panoramic shots.

Then, just as I was taking this shot via slowly circling around, I noticed that someone was quietly waiting for me to finish. Finish what, he wasn't quite sure. Upon getting an explanation, he looked at the result, and perked up. He thought it was cool. Yeah, I thought, it was. He suggested going back to the water's edge to take a panorama there. I pondered that for a second and thought, Um, no, things are already getting out of hand in the panorama and "let's see what this phone's camera can do" department.

Panorama, Boyd Mound Site off the Natchez Trace Parkway

and so we reach the end

No Moral of the Story of Anything. It's Just the End.

Except: All photos taken with a Google Pixel. I shot in Adobe DNG raw file format using the Photoshop Lightroom Mobile app, mostly, with a few others taken with the Pixel camera app.

Really. Goodbye!

Created By
Ray Mikell

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