The water mill had treated us very well and we had had a lot of fun there but it was time to move on. We had passed a sign on the road to the mill for Kemper County Lake boat ramp. Well, I had never been to Kemper County Lake so I thought why not?? I mean we are right here. So I started guiding Sterling to the lake. When we got to the part of the road that said; “Pavement Ends” he slowed the truck down. I told him, what the heck, it is an adventure…keep moving. I am so glad that we did. We emerged from the trees to see a parking lot with a few trucks and trailers but the view was magnificent.
This little gem is hidden in Kemper County, Mississippi and it is 595 acres according to the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Department. They have stocked it with Bass, Crappie, Redear, Bluegill and Catfish and at some points the lake is 36′ deep; near the dam of course. There is camping and beautiful scenes. I would very much like to check out the other side of the lake that we didn’t see since we only stumbled onto this one. The other side is where the camping hook ups and the office are.
After we were done there we decided to go to Nanih Waiya Mound, and Nanih Waiya Cave if it was open. Finding the Mound was a little difficult because I expected a sign that indicated I was heading to the mound…there wasn’t one. After at least one turn around and some directional discussion we were on the right road. The road to the mound was a very pretty road and a little before the mound there was a boat ramp into a swamp. It seemed like that might be a good place to get lost in. Around a curve from the boat ramp there stood the mound on the right. There was a parking area on the left which was guarded by several very large Turkey Vultures. Well, we wanted to see the mound so we pulled in and pulled well away from the very large birds. As we exited the truck there was silence. On the left side was the road and the mound, on the right there were some buildings and a swamp. The air was thick and I am not sure I remember hearing any birdsong at all. There were old concrete benches that were broken up and there was one pavilion or building that had fallen down and another that looked very abandoned. Inside the pavilion that I was heading for there were two chairs that looked as if someone had just gotten up and left not that long ago. What I DO remember hearing were the vultures and as I was walking up to the little pavilion overlooking the swamp I heard something huge making it’s way through the swamp. I stopped and looked around, because there are big animals that could be out there; things like bears and hogs. I didn’t see anything. The boys never heard it, but that could be because they were busy poking fun at each other. I checked the pavilion for snakes and walked up to take a look at the swamp. I must say, there is no reason that I would willingly go in there that I can think of!
After we had had enough of the swamp it was time to take a look at the mound. The mound is 25′ high and 220 feet long and 140 feet wide. It is a huge mound out in the middle of gorgeous pastures ringed by trees and swamp. There are a couple of creation stories that go with this mound for the Choctaw People. One creation story calls the Nanih Waiya mound the “Mother Mound” and they believe that the First People emerged from the mound the Nanih Waiya Cave. There is also a belief, according to Wikipedia, that the Chickasaw, Creek and possibly Cherokee people emerged from the cave. There is another story that I found on Mike Boucher’s Web Page that tells how the Choctaw People were wandering in search of a Promised Place taking a Sacred Stick with them. Each Morning they would receive a message from the Sacred Stick telling them which way to go; however, once they got to Nanih Waiya the Stick seemed to drive itself into the ground and point “point contentedly upward” The people ended up staying and carving out a life here. That is a pretty short summary, but it tells the basic story. The mound was amazing!
The gate had been left open, so we climbed to the top of the mound. You could see for miles!! It was absolutely gorgeous. Then I started hearing low voices behind me:
“How about I push you down the hill?” “How about we both roll down the hill?” “I’ll go if you go” “You go first” “Nope, I don’t trust you…we go at the same time”
I am sure you guessed it by now…those two crazy boys had decided to roll down this mound. I am already picturing all the things that can go wrong in my head but I am also thinking about how I might have done the same thing when I was younger. So, they got set and off they went. They started off slow and picked up a lot of speed as they rolled. At the end they lay at the bottom of the hill laughing and trying to stop the world from spinning. Then I hear:
“Want to do it again??”
Well, I HAVE to video this. I mean, it was too funny the first time, there has to be evidence. So I start down the stairs as they decide to run back up the hill. What I missed on my way down the stairs was Sterling slipping on the wet grass and rolling down the hill a second time. All of a sudden I hear:
“Are you going to do it again?” “Yes” “Where are you going then??” “I am using the STAIRS”
I had no idea what that conversation was about until later. So, Sterling gets to the top, I get in position and I wait. Once they finally figure out who should be where off they go. It is all going pretty well until Sterling hits the thistle. And let me tell you, these are not just little thistles, these are the monster thistles that grow in fields, the ones with spikes that seem like they are 10 feet long. Well, that is the first OWWWW. Then for some reason, he launches into the air mid roll and comes down on one side of his butt. There is the second OWWW. And, pardon the pun, it is all downhill from there. Brady on the other hand is quiet, but this time he is turning over and landing on his face each time he rolls around. So as I watched the video back I see him do at least 3 faceplants. Once they make it to the bottom I video for a minute and then click it off. Oh course as soon as I click it off I hear:
“I think I broke my ass” and much laughter ensued
All in all, I would highly recommend the Nanih Waiya mound. The cave was closed…maybe that is a good thing for us. Who knows what those boys would have found to get into. The beauty of the area is something that must be seen. Words don’t do it justice. For us, I think the boys learned that rolling down really big hills might not be the best idea…NAH…Let’s do it again!!