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05 January 2009 @ 11:02 am
spent first weekend of 2009 heading south  
It's about 11 Monday morning Jan. 5th and I'm at Pat's Restaurant/Atchafalaya Club/Edgewater Inn in Henderson, Louisiana, just northeast of Lafayette.

James and I left about 1 AM Friday morning to take the only unscenic part of the journey before dawn and before any traffic. (the 350 miles from Dayton to the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway at Nashville)

At dawn we were on the 443-mile Parkway and about 60 miles south we got to the beautiful place we've camped the last two trips down here in the winter -the Meriwether Lewis Memorial. Here is the blind set up there for Friday through Saturday morning:



The stove worked well and James was in heaven here again because we had the entire campground to ourselves and the weather was warm and gorgeous.

I continue to marvel at the open-ness of the woods all along the Parkway, with NO invasive honeysuckle.

In fact, this was taken down the ridge from our campsite, and just above a 6-foot waterfall we discovered:



I was very happy to find huge quantities of hickory nuts, two varieties, all over our campsite!

In Ohio, it's impossible to find good hickory nuts before the squirrels do.

James helped me gather a huge bagful, as you can see here:



Friday night, there were absolutely no sounds whatsoever from any roads, and no lights whatsoever from any houses, cars, towns or other campers. The stars were the only illumination and they were extremely bright. James was in a trance over the beauty of this and she sat up all night purring and gazing into the woods.

Then we spent the entire day Saturday on the Parkway until we got to Rocky Springs campground for the night.

Yesterday morning (Sunday), we left there and headed through Natchez and down toward Point Breeze, where I took this picture of the ramp into the Mississippi River:



By the time I was at the ramp, it was in the seventies and was pleasantly humid.

I visited the campground near Point Breeze, and found hundreds of delicious pecans!

I expect to look for more of these down here.

Finally, we explored deeper south along the Atchafalaya floodways, investigating some more remote levee roads, with plans to spend the night somewhere near Lafayette, which I intend to visit for the first time today.

When we emerged from the wildlife reserves at Indian Bayou, we immediately came upon this amazing complex of historic Cajun establishments and I was so impressed and it was so close to dark, that I checked into the Edgewater Inn here, on the Bayou des Glaises canal. I walked along the dock and had supper at Pat's, which I discovered is one of the most famous restaurants in the country. After supper, I walked next door to the Atchafalaya Club where a superb Cajun band was playing and hundreds of people were dancing.

...so here I am Monday morning, ready for another nice day as the weather starts getting up into the sixties again, about to leave the Edgewater Inn, visit Lafayette, and then explore farther south along Bayou Teche, which is supposed to be the most scenic area in Louisiana, but where I have not been up until now.