Today's route from Tupelo to the Tennessee river, exposed at times part of the original (old) Natchez Trace, and showed off impressive Indian mounds, with the Pharr mounds being one of the largest and most important in the region. Eight large dome-shaped burial mounds are scattered here over a ninety acres area. These mounds were build and used in 200 A.C.E. by a tribe of nomadic Indian hunters and gatherers, who returned at times to this site, to bury the dead with their possessions. Further up on the Parkway was the Bear Creek Mound, a village site occupied as early as 8,000 B.C.E. by hunters, who stayed only long enough to prepare their kill. These people shaped a large mound and built a crude temple on its summit, to house their sacred images.
After having done the entire Boeing fleet on my odometer, from the 707 to the dream liner, I cross the Mississippi Alabama border and log my first 1,000 miles. By late afternoon I reach the Tennessee river, and since there is no place to stay for another thirty miles up the road, I decide to hang it up for the day, and explore the area. Whenever I tell people here that I camp in the woods, their response almost always is the same: copperheads, rattlesnakes and cottonmouth. They tell me that they are everywhere, and I listen to their personal experiences of snake encounters. I have yet to encounter one myself, but when out for a walk in the forest, watch carefully where I step, especially when picking up logs and branches for firewood.
By nightfall there is not much going on. In places like this there usually is no phone signal, or electricity so the only thing left to do is, to crawl inside the tent, the size of the length and width of my body, open up the vents, and sweat it out till day break.