Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Natchez Trace State Park was amazing. Driving the winding road into the park in the bright sun of morning through the thick forest I couldn’t help but to smile to myself: I was in love with Tennessee. I stopped at Pin Oak Lake first, getting some trail recommendations from the person at the lodge and headed down the hill to the water, first walking out onto the dock. The lake was stunning and between the view, the smell of pine, and the warm day, I felt overwhelmed. I sat for a while in the sun, watching the waves and listening as the swells lifted the thin sheets of ice near the shore; it sounded almost like a rainstick, yet it was something I had never heard before.

Pin Oak Lake from the dock, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake from the dock, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake from the dock, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake from the dock, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

I walked along the shore for a while before deciding to cross inland to the trailhead. The Pin Oak Lake Trail crossed pine and oak forest and followed the shore at points before terminating in a beautiful picnic area situated on a small peninsula that made me wish I had brought my lunch with me. Rapidly melting snow turned much of the trail near the water into mud but the trail sections crossing upland forest were fairly dry. Just as by the dock, the air was still enough to hear the ripples in the water lifting the thin ice, accompanied by the chirping of birds.

Dead leaves under the water, Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Dead leaves under the water, Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake Trail, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake Trail, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Trees above, Pin Oak Lake Trail, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Trees above, Pin Oak Lake Trail, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Returning from my hike I found a secluded spot along another section of the lake and broke out the stove to heat up lunch after which I drove to a different section of the park, coming upon an old brick kiln built in the 1930s by the CCC and a dilapidated old barn.

Brick kiln built by the CCC to fire bricks used in the construction of the lodge, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Brick kiln built by the CCC to fire bricks used in the construction of the lodge, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Barn, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Barn, Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee