Recently, I made a 200-mile road trip to teach a judo class, and along the way I got to see some of the first glimmerings of some Fall colors! It’s not the trees – they are still mostly in summer mode, but the wildflowers on the Highway median are totally aware that their time is fleeting.
On the road from McComb to Starkville, once you get past Jackson, you’re on Mississippi Highway 25 for about 120 miles. Back in our college days, Highway 25 was the bane of our existence because it was a small, winding road, perpetually under construction, often only 2 lanes wide, and frequently choked with university traffic.
But this weekend it was totally different! They are done with the construction that plagued motorists throughout the late 80’s and 1990’s, so now the road is 4-lanes of nice, smooth pavement separated by wide medians with rolling hills. This weekend was an away game for the university, so there was no traffic, and no litter! The road reminded me of a parkway – almost like the Natchez Trace but not as slow-moving.
All along the sides of Highway 25 there are yellow Goldenrod (Asteraceae) and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia). A surprising accompaniment for these flashes and splashes of yellows – largely north of Louisville, MS there are large clumps of the green and red of Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
If you’re looking for a nice drive to observe Fall colors in north-central Mississippi, I’d recommend Highway 25 from Jackson to Starkville. It is a nice, clean drive and the colors will only get better as the autumn progresses.