Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tuxachanie Trail - Mileposts 6 and 7

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

Time to stretch my legs again (not to mention exercising my broken mended hip and broken mended knee). Before I left California I had found a cobbler who repaired my special shoes with the 2cm lift under my damaged mended left leg, so I was ready to roll; off to the De Soto National Forest in south Mississippi.
But not ready enough to get there on time, apparently. After ruling out POW camp with its 7-acre lake (finding some 50-60 campers there, all outfitted in combat fatigues), I landed at the 1.5 acre Airey Lake, pictured at right and below.

In spite of the lateness of the hour, I tackled a two-mile segment of Tuxachanie Trail from Airey Lake to Big Foot Road near Horse Camp. I found the junction of the western and eastern legs of the trail where a sign advertised 5 miles to POW camp (west) and 7 miles to POW camp (east). The eastern leg showed no evidence of any maintenance since Hurricane Katrina, with major trees still laying across the trail.

Continuing on the western leg, I arrived at Big Foot Road in the gathering dusk of 5:30pm, faced with a decision: return along the moonless trail with no flashlight, or go the long way by following the roads. I chose the fool's route, and before too long I was crying out to God to light my path and protect my feet from stumbling.

After my prayer, the clouds dissipated and my trail ahead was dimly lit by faint starlight. What startled me most was when I entered a more deeply wooded section in the shade: I had been seeing lights off and on for a while, thinking they were distant airplanes or radio towers. But no: in the deep of the woods I was being accompanied by dancing fireflies. I stopped in the pitch dark, and just then a firefly lit up long enough to show me where the trail led.

Back at Airey Camp (7:30pm) I broke out an MRE that I had been saving for just such an occasion as this, and slept overnight in the car. I feel much better today; the pains from my old injuries have subsided, to be replaced by that tired feeling one has after a good bit of healthy exercise.

Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
And teach me your laws.
(Psalm 119:108)

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