Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One of Vicksburg's Hidden Treasures

One of Vicksburg's most beautiful and picturesque places is located off the beaten path in the Vicksburg National Military Park, and is not usually seen by most visitors.  In fact, there are probably a lot of Vicksburg residents who have never seen it, and may not even know it's there.

The "secret place" I'm referring to is located on Mint Springs Bayou,  a tributary of the Mississippi River, and one of three major streams flowing through the Military Park.   There are a couple of interesting stories associated with Mint Springs Bayou -- One is about the flatboaters who used to float raw materials down the Mississippi River, and often stopped at the mouth of Mint Springs Bayou, named after the wild mint plants that grew there. Vicksburg legend has it that the Mint Julep drink (bourbon, sugar, water, and mint) originated here when an inventive boatman tried adding mint to his whiskey and liked the taste.  However, Vicksburg is not the only place in the South that claims to be the source of the Mint Julep.

The second story is that the bayou and its spring were important as a source of water for both sides during the Siege of Vicksburg.  I can just imagine blue- and gray-coated soldiers declaring a temporary truce there on the banks of the stream.

But back to my present-day story about Mint Springs.  As I mentioned previously, it is home to one of the prettiest little spots in Vicksburg ... a 30-ft. waterfall located not too far off Washington Street at the foot of Fort Hill, as shown on the map below ...

My husband and I visited the falls a few years ago, on an unseasonably warm January day.  Not too far off of Washington Street, there is an opening in the trees and you can see a path leading up the hill.  If you go, I highly recommend you visit in the wintertime and be sure to wear boots.  The path is covered with ivy and it's very rugged and steep in places.

As we meandered along the winding path ... way before we saw the falls ... we could hear the unmistakable sound of the water.

Having been born and raised in Louisiana, I haven't seen many waterfalls up close and personal ... and to think there was one this close and so easily accessible, was exciting.  I couldn't wait to see it!

I didn't have to wait long, and it was well worth the hike.  It was truly breathtaking!

The mist from the falls and the sunlight created a beautiful rainbow effect ...

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, the area around the waterfall is currently off limits to visitors due to unstable terrain in the area.  The Park is committed to the safety of all visitors and anyone caught around the waterfall area is subject to prosecution for trespassing and can be fined if convicted.


racheld said...

Oh. My. This is another of those "If a tree falls in a forest . . ." things that is born to blush unseen, save for a privileged few.

And you've shared it!

It was beautiful all the way down, but I actually FELT my eyelids rise wide when I scrolled to the fan-prism picture. I felt the very first magical glimpse of Cinderella through my Viewmaster.

Thank you for this absolutely mesmerizing site (and sight). You just never know.


Marian Love Phillips said...

Beautiful pictures and thanks so much for sharing...I have live here all my life and wanted go to there. As you pass over the bridge going up towards the cemetery there is a road to the right...is that where you walked in? I tried to go that way one time and got a little unsettled and left. Let me know. Love what you captured...Awesome! :)

C. M. Designs said...

Who would think that there is such a beautiful nature scene hidden from view.
I'm glad you had your husband along for the walk.. The path looks tricky but I'll bet it was fun.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
<3 Charlotte in Va.

Richard Cottrell said...

Love it, natural falls are hard to find. I bet it is wonderful now with all the green and maybe a few wild flower, weeds blooming about. We are finally have some queen Ann's lace. Not mush of it here this year. I am not sure why. Usually we have fields and road sides full. We are still have some flooding. darn it. Richard

Debra Cape said...

Born and raised on the North end of town, when just a teenager and getting my drivers license. You could enter at Clay street, go through the park and end up at the bottom of the hill right near the cemetery and this falls. As a teenager and an explorer. The visit to the falls were often. It was a great adventure, many times it comes to mind going to that stream to the falls and just relaxing. It was after my getting married in moving south of town that the falls were off limits to visitors.