My original plans for today included a hike in the woods and an auto tour. Emma and I headed out early to get to the hike on the Leaf Wilderness Trail about an hours drive from the refuge. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was, but we found it. As we pulled into the trail parking lot, the skies opened up and the rain poured down. Since the skies were dark all around, I scratched that activity off of today’s list, and moved on down the road to Hattiesburg, MS. The rain continued for a couple of more hours.
At the Hattiesburg Visitor’s Center, I asked about the ‘64 Freedom Summer Trail. This trail is a driving tour that takes you to 15 historic sites that were instrumental in the 1964 Civil Rights Movement. I got the map for the tour, and was told that as I stopped at each location I could dial a number on my cell phone to hear an audio report on each site. After asking, I was assured that there were places to park at each stop to hear the narrative.
Sorry to say, I was very disappointed in this tour. I’m thinking it is better accomplished if you are not traveling alone. The directions are rather convoluted, and I had difficulty driving safely and trying to read all the driving directions. There was no where to park at the first sight, and I drove right past it and had to turn around. I pulled into someone’s driveway to listen to the narrative, and it was garbled even though I had full bars on the cell phone. The first site was to be the Vernon Dahmer home. Vernon was at the heart of the Freedom Summer movement, and his home was destroyed in a firebomb by the KKK. While his family was able to escape, Vernon was killed in this incident. All that remains is a plaque.
I tried to get to the second stop on the tour, but never did make it there. Perhaps things have changed since the directions were written, but I ended up lost and at a road closure.
As the rain subsided, I chose a nice sheltered picnic table.
The lake was inhabited by a pair of Canada geese, and about a hundred Muscovy. These are large domestic fowl that are often encountered on farms and city ponds/lakes.
As I got out of the car with my lunch cooler, about 25 of them headed my way until… I brought Emma out. Then they did an abrupt about turn! Since they were birds, Emma really didn’t give a hoot about them, but she earned her keep by allowing me to have my lunch in peace. Have you ever been accosted by a large group of marauding waterfowl? It isn’t pleasant!
As I was packing up to leave, a gentleman in a pickup truck stopped and asked if I was here to see the babies. I told him no, I was just here to have my lunch, and that I was lost. After giving me some directions so I could head back home in the right direction, he asked how many babies I’d seen. I told him one. Turns out, he checks on them every day. It seems there were 15 a short time ago, but the feral hogs have made short order of them. Folks are very friendly down here, and I sure was grateful for his help on how to get un-lost. I guess I didn’t mention that the air around my lunchtime repast was also a little fragrant. Eventually I figured out that this lake must be part of the water treatment facility for the city of Hattiesburg. So much for the Summer Freedom Trail…
So, today turned out a bit different than I had planned, but it was an adventure after all. Just not the one I was expecting.
Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later, Judy