Six Hour Day Trip to an Old Bridge in Carroll County Was FUN!

May 29, 2012 · 0 comments

in Excursions and Day Triips

Greetings again friends, this is Bill Taylor writing about a road trip we enjoyed. On this short trip we discovered a beautiful, old steel and wooden bridge and visited an amateur topiary display, plus … we ate at a Catfish Buffet.

You can’t tell a book by its cover, and you can’t tell a trip by the map.

Sometimes a trip that doesn’t seem very promising can become a memorable road trip. This was such a trip. We got to see the “Soggy Bottom” bridge, and took pictures of an old bridge. I love old bridges.

We didn’t leave until 4:pm. That doesn’t sound like a very promising day trip, and I had to remind myself that we don’t count miles we count smiles, but this day trip turned out great. My sister-in-law, Debbie, had heard about this old bridge in Carroll County, MS that was supposed to be photogenic. She is in this contest that isn’t really a contest, they just post up a photo every day about a different subject from any they have taken. My grandson, Josh, is also participating in this idea.

Debby is having lots of fun and has taken some fantastic pix. They range from sunsets and flowers to night scenes and family members. If you have talent almost any subject can become a great photo. I’m not a photographer, I’m not even an amateur, I’m more of a four-thumb fumbler who owns a camera. But I enjoy snapping pictures too and I took my Kodak Brownie Hawkeye out of mothballs and went along for the scenery and took a few shots for the fun of it. I’m gonna put up a gallery of unusual snaps as the prime part of this post.

Tommy drove so I was free to think and look. This crowd prefers that I don’t think, it sometimes causes problems, so mostly, I just looked. The entire trip was about 150 miles and including the generous time for eating Catfish, took about six hours. This post will be more about pictures than words … hope you enjoy it.

We love eating Catfish at Carmack Fish House

We left home about 4-ish and drove through the country to the Carmack Catfish House, at Carmack, MS which may not be on your map. It may not be on my map either. Carmack is about 3 miles south of Vaiden, MS on MS Hwy 35 at the intersection of County Road 3122. On weekends they serve up a great Fried Catfish Buffet for about $14. It has dill pickles, cole slaw, french fries, boiled corn-on-the-cob, fried okra and other great southern cooking sides. For the main event the Catfish is fried, and you can either eat Catfish Tails (the hind portion of a sizable catfish), or catfish steaks (cuts right through the catfish, bone and all). Tea is $1 extra. If you leave hungry it’s your fault, because this is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

In these parts there’s lots of folks who sell catfish, so if your’en ain’t good no one comes back. This place packs out every week-end.

After we ate, they rolled me out to the car on a piano-dolly. We buckled up and set out on the great, spine-tingling adventure of MS Hwy 430, which had been mysteriously revealed to my mysterious sister-in-law.

Enter Parts Unknown 

Drive north on MS 35 passing under Interstate 55. Take the first paved road on your left. You are going southerly onto State Hwy 430, which winds through gentle clay hills lush with Kudzu covered trees, flowers, and fields of cotton and soybeans, until it eventually reaches the delta near Greenwood,MS.

Landscape Around Old Bridge

About 10 miles (that’s a country-boy estimate, which being interpreted, means I have no idea how far it is) you come to County Road 144. This is an unpaved road. It is narrow and descends a pretty steep hill as you leave MS 430.

You are officially “in the woods.” In fact you have entered an area in the woods which can authoritatively be called “Soggy Bottom.” We are here in mid-May and wild Blackberry bushes line both the sides of the road filled with unripened Blackberries. I ran some quick calculations using both my fingers and toes and realized I will be out of town when these berries ripen. Double-darn.

This soggy bottom area is created by a creek named, Abiaca Creek. This is not a creek of great length. According to my map, it begins about a mile upstream and empties into Sanders Lake a short distance (maybe a few hundred yards) after flowing through here.

Beaver Dam

From roadway 144, the creek runs east and slightly north up a hollow between lush vegetation of swamp grass and a variety of water-loving trees. About 75 yards upstream, Beaver have damned up the creek. The dam is close enough to the road that you can hear, but not see, the waterfall created by the Beaver dam.

The bridge is what drew us to this area. It is an elaborate bridge for such a poorly built, seldom used road. The superstructure is Heavy Bolted Steel which forms an awkward arch across the creek. It must span 50 to 75 feet across the creek. This is one fine, sturdy, old, surprisingly good bridge. The roadway of the bridge is of what look to be rough sawed Oak planks about 4×10″ which are nailed with 6 inch nails onto 6×16 beams laid across the waterway. The planks and the cross beam under-structure seem to be fairly new.

Entrance to Old BridgeStanding on the bridge, you hear frog and insects sounds, mixed with bird calls all around you. It is a beautiful, peaceful, exciting moment to find something like this. I was pastor of two churches in Carroll County and no one ever mentioned this place to me.

Dragon Fly Near Bridge

We stood on the bridge and took pictures, listened to the sounds and wondered out loud about all the things that come to your mind in a place and time like this. I spied a blue Dragonfly and got some good pictures of it, up close and personal (see bottom of post).

We left “Soggy Bottom” and continued west on MS Hwy 430. In a few minutes we came to Blackhawk, MS. This old community probably doesn’t even have its own zip code. But it has a church and several homes, and an intersection with MS Hwy 17 which runs north/south through here.

Sometimes my mind works fine and gives me the false impression of still being young

Wide Angle of Topiary at Blackhawk, MS

When we reached Blackhawk, I remembered an area just west of “town” that I had seen years before. I told them there were some topiaries down this road if we could go just a little further. No one knew what a topiary was and said they were not interested in learning anything new at the moment. They made comments like,  “It’s the weekend and you aren’t supposed to work your brain on the weekend.” I assured the beautiful bunch I run with, this is not going to be something that puts a strain on your brain … and finally they consented to give it a reluctant try.

I don’t know the family who lives here, and do not know who is responsible for the art that lines the driveway of this home on MS 430, but I am grateful for the artful person who created the sight that greets your eyes, and makes them smile.

The name of the family appears to be COX. At least that is the name spelled out with perfectly arranged and pruned small shrubs along the bank leading up to the topiary display.

A Topiary is a plant or tree that has been pruned or trimmed into an extraordinary form or shape. The size, shape and beauty of a topiary are completely in the mind and hands of the artists who create them. I feel sure that Mr/Mrs Cox would get much more notice of his/her/their work if it were placed on a more heavily traveled road.

Never quit driving while the sun is still shining

We still had daylight and felt that if we returned home before dark our children might make fun of us and call us “old geezers” or something even worse. So we decided to drive a bit further. We retraced our tracks to Hwy 17 and drove south to Lexington, MS. This is an old town that has almost fallen apart. The Holmes County Courthouse is a beautiful building with a spectacular Clock Tower. The road around town square is wide and spaciously arranged, but business does not seem to be booming.

Sometimes, the best part of the trip is going back home

Nevertheless, we drove through Lexington and turned east on MS Hwy 12 which returns us directly to the place we had begun less than six hours previous. From Lexington you drive through Durant, MS which makes Lexington look like a thriving metropolis. The next town is Kosciusko, MS which is a surprisingly prosperous town. Locals call it Kozy. The Natchez Trace Parkway runs across the southeast city line of Kozy. Lots of folks get off and eat and browse downtown here. The Natchez Trace Festival is held here each May and draws large crowds from all over. Kosciusko is the county seat of Attala County, MS. There are several motels, gas and fast food restaurants on the Hwy 35 bypass. East of the intersection of 12 and 35, there is an excellent BarB Q restaurant called Frenchies. Frenchies is worth the money and then some.

We are home in about 30 minutes after we got our drink at McDonald’s. Hope you enjoyed the ride with us. Keep rolling up the miles and dialing up smiles. A bad day on a road trip is better than a good day trimming thorn bushes.

Y’all come back now!

Bill

Up Acacia Creek Past the Beaver Dam Downstream Acacia Creek from Old Bridge Blue Dragonfly on Old Bridge

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