Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part post. We will return soon with more of David McCarty’s Welcome to East Jackson.
The only thing that makes a summer day hotter is spending it in the city. I’m told the “urban heat island effect” can raise the ambient air temperature a full 10 degrees above what out rural neighbors are experiencing. This belief led a friend and I on a quest for adventure out-of-town. We had heard a report of a bridge, somewhere close to Terry, that state had deemed “structurally insufficient” and later closed to traffic. Interestingly, some time passed between these two events.
Armed with only the vaguest directions and the blower set on MAX AC, we wound through and past quant downtown Terry, under some railroad tracks, and finally onto Rosemary, a beautifully hilly and wooded road. As the woods thickened and the road narrowed, we approached a large ravine with a strangely proportioned one-lane bridge. To our surprise, there was nothing blocking the bridge, and after some deliberation about the “structural sufficiency” of the it, we decided to drive across. The wooden decking creaked under the weight of our car as we crossed safely onto the other side. According to Bridgehunter.com, this pony-truss style bridge was built in 1950, and has a sufficiency rating of 27 (out of 100!). Apparently sufficient enough for a Toyota Camry.
Almost immediately we encountered a group of men and boys in camouflage with hunting rifles in tow. We sheepishly asked if we could park to snap some photos of the bridge. They consented, and we began to explore on foot.
Standing on the bridge, you have a great view of two very different water features on Vaughn Creek. Upstream from the bridge is a slow and mysterious cypress swamp, which funnels into a fast flowing creek that spills across a sandstone slab visible on the other side of the bridge. The sound of rushing water was so inviting that we decided to scramble down the steep poison ivy covered bank of the creek. What we found was bittersweet. A small waterfall (impressive by MS standards) was no more than 50 yards from the bridge. Unfortunately, the area around the waterfall was trashed. The drop off the bridge was far too convenient(and probably entertaining) of a place to make trash “go away”. I was saddened as we stepped around broken TV’s, tires, and kitchen waste. This was a reminder of my least favorite trait of my home state-littering is a hobby in MS.
We walked down the creek to its confluence with the Pearl River and enjoyed some breath-taking views of sandbars and herons until, abruptly, gunfire echoed through the woods. Our friends from earlier must have found something. It made for a good time to hustle back to the car.
Convinced we had found the bridge we came to see, we headed back to town. But, as we would soon find out, the adventure on Rosemary Road was far from over.