TISHOMINGO COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – We have almost every type geography in Mississippi, except the desert. Grassy parries, swamps, hills, flat Delta, seashore and piney woods. But how about we go to a place with Appalachian-type rock outcroppings and rustic cabins? We have that, too.
This topography is unlike anything you’d expect to find in Mississippi. Sandstone and limestone cliffs and canyons, rustic stone cabins and Bear Creek. Which, unlike the vast majority of waterways in Mississippi, flows north and empties into the Tennessee River. This is Tishomiongo State Park. It is just off the Natchez Trace almost to the Alabama State Line in northeast Mississippi, some 40 or so miles past Tupelo heading toward Nashville.
The park was a 1930s CCC project. Mississippi got several state parks out of the deal. Tishomingo was the most rustic because it is located on the southern end of the Appalachian Plateau and is in the Tennessee River Valley. Water that falls here eventually makes it to the Mississippi River, but it has to go to the Ohio River first.
I have an attachment to this part of the state because my mom’s family sunk roots here. They came to the northeast Mississippi hills six generations ago as settlers. So a cabin like the pioneer log cabin relocated here on display in a deep shaded hollow in the park resonates with something in my inner being. I never lived in this part of the state. I grew up in the Delta. But Grandma’s house was here. Maybe that’s why I love to run away to Tishomingo State Park when I can, because it reminds me of those trips to the hills and the kind of fun you have with your cousins playing hide-and-seek and telling ghost stores.
That’s my fantasy side of the park. But the reality of Tishomingo State Park is just as appealing. Bear Creek: you can swim in it, wade in it and canoe it. I never had the energy. I just like to hear it rippling over the rocks at the foot of the bluff evenings sitting on the porch swing in one of the old cabins.
And the park isn’t just for summer. Fall leaves start turning first in this part of Mississippi. And a cold rain and a cold night invites a wood fire in the fire place.
Tishomingo State Park reminds me of my pioneer ancestors I had that I never met but am a part of. But even if my ancestors had been from Mars, I’d still love to run away now and again to Tishomingo State Park.
The park is open days only right now, but the cabins will be open again by this weekend.