Friday, July 29, 2011

Trail Trials: from Tuxachanie to Gabrielino

From Tuxachanie (Mississippi)...One of my discoveries in Mississippi was the Tuxachanie Trail, which offers a 22-mile hike through southern Mississippi's Desoto National Forest. I kept returning to the trail until I had hiked all of it--or at least all of it that was open to the public (and some that wasn't).
One of the gems along that route was this plank bridge. The horse portion of the trail splashed for 50 yards or so through the low-lying wetlands along Spike Buck Creek, while this plank trail offered a way for hikers to get through without sloshing mud and water up into your boots. The reward on the other side of the creek was a trail camp which boasted an actual picnic table.

To Gabrielino (California)....
This past July 12 I set out to explore the Arroyo Seco northwest of Pasadena and stumbled across the trailhead for the Gabrielino Trail. I determined to learn more. Here is Gould Mesa Trail Camp, just an hour up the trail. I decided to base camp here on my next visit and try to get farther up the Gabrielino trail, perhaps all the way to the rumored "Switzer Falls".

There are a number of bridges on the trail for autos, but many of them, along with the roads around them, have been destroyed by the recurring floods. This is a more recently-constructed bridge, built to accomodate the equestrian traffic on the Gabrielino Trail.

"Arroyo Seco" is Spanish for "Dry Gulch," an appropriate name only for the lower reaches of the canyon after the City of Pasadena has sucked all the water out of it for its thirsty citizens. The lower portion of the arroyo is the pathway for the nation's first freeway, now an extension of Interstate 110. With its tight curves and abrupt on- and off-ramps, it is a challenging drive during rush hour.

Once above the intake point for Pasadena's water plant, the creek crossing shown at right is more typical of what will confront a hiker on the Gabrielino trail. Some of the crossings are quite a bit more challenging than this one, especially for me as I work with strength and balance limitations on my surgery recuperation trail.

At the Gould Mesa camp, there is a road that leads off the side, climbing to meet the Angeles Crest Highway (California 2) just above the city limits of La CaƱada Flintridge. I encountered this sign, which reminded me of the time I drove up CA-2 and came across the place where the Gabrielino Trail reaches the crest of the Angeles Forest--and wished I had time to hike the trail.So I think that's exactly what I'll do. Bit by Bit, I'm going to see if I can reach each section of this 28.5 mile trail. Watch this space for the photos!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Although I have been here along the West Coast since last September, I have been mostly tending to my family and to my personal health, notably for hip replacement surgery March 15. But now God has guided me to Pasadena, California, where I am beginning in ministry once again to the homeless, addicted and recovering communities.

I am working alongside the Rev. Charles T. Myers, who is planting an urban church with an outreach to the addicted and recovering: it is Saint Michael's in the City, which has been meeting for the last seven weeks at 679 East Washington Boulevard at 5pm, not to mention its long-standing Bible Study each Thursday 6pm at Starbucks, 679 North Fair Oaks Avenue.

I am preparing to teach the Common Solution Recovery 12-step class developed by Church Army in Branson, Missouri, and have potentially 7 students who will be attending starting the first weekend in August. I last taught this class in 2007 to the homeless workers that I took into my cabin in Gulfport, Mississippi on the campus of God's Katrina Kitchen.

And I'm still hiking on trails! Watch for a post here soon on the Gabrielino Trail in the Angeles National Forest.

Please pray for me and my ministry. As elsewhere, there are people here hurting and dying from the afflictions of drugs, alcohol, and other addictions.