A certain bird has been following me up the Trace. It rattles into trees. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of a red head or streaks of white.

A woodpecker.

I don’t know what kind.

natchez trace, sunken trace, mississippi

It was loudest around Sunken Trace, a fissure in the earth formed by the unique soil conditions along the Natchez Trace ridge line. How many buffalo herds stampeded through this junction? What Native Americans hid in the trees and picked them off with bow and arrow? Did boatmen trod this path? Or did they avoid the highwaymen who lurked along its edges?

Did an explorer show a little girl how to track a woodpecker there?

When the air is still, I can almost hear them, creeping along to the beat of a woodpecker beak.

Click here to see the best photos from Day Five of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

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And now, for today’s Reader Question………….

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