Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Here's The Plan

I asked LostAgain to do a scout of a couple of possible Friday night campsites that I'd located on Google Earth just north of Merit.  I asked him to check into pull overs, pull ins, or room on the shoulder where roads crossed or ran parallel to the trail.  To cut to the chase:

So, to summarize, no good places to pull over, the back roads are single lane, no shoulder, abutted by private land, tending to dirt and not well marked. The trail itself is easily accessed, but there really is no place to park one vehicle, let alone several, save one spot near the cemetery. And lastly, there just didn't seem to be any suitable trees to hang from, and the trees that did look good were all blocked at the lower end by heavy brush. The last thing too, is that the trail is immediately adjacent to private land. As in there is no buffer. If you pass between the brush and trees along the trail, you're on somebody's land. And I'm talking by steps, not yards. The roads are also not in the best shape, and like I said, narrow 1 laners that require you to pull over if approaching someone coming in the opposite direction (which actually happened to us). 
The trail IS in good shape if you're BIKE-packing. But for hiking (at least at the point we were looking) it's basically a dirt road with few places to pull over for parking a car. Like I said, if you're walking town to town and carrying plenty of water it's great. But, places to pitch a tent or hang a hammock are few and far between. In looking at it I think it was envisioned as a day hiking/biking trail, not a thru-hiking or hike/backpack/camp trail.
 I gave this a lot of thought and prayer, and here's what I came up with:

This trail is closer to the kind of walk Jesus and the Apostles would have made in the three years of His ministry than any we've walked before: a well worn path between towns traversing or going by homes, farms, and orchards----places where people live and toil.

The campsites Don scouted were near road crossings and he didn't hike down the the trail anymore than a hundred yards at the places he stopped---he didn't do any kind of extensive hiking of the trail along the points in between.

So we're going to what They did and trust God to find us a place to sleep Saturday night.  We won't do any Friday night camping, at least as an organized group (you're welcome to look at the maps and give it a shot, or sleep in your car in the parking lot in Celeste).

We will meet at around 0900 in Celeste in the parking lot of the Exxon Station on Hwy 69 right where the trail crosses the highway (click on  "View Map" on this web page: and go to Street View ).  There we will decide who's vehicle will be left there for the termination end of the shuttle, then drive down to the trailhead in Farmersville  with the goal of getting there by no later than 1200. We'll stop a couple places on the way where a road crosses the trail to cache water The trail from there to Merit is 5 miles long, which should take us about three hours. The trail from Merit to Celeste is 7.7 miles long.  Somewhere along that 7.7 miles is a place God will provide for us---and that's where we'll camp. Sunday morning we'll wake up and walk the remaining distance to Celeste.

Since we'll be waiting for folks to show, we should exchange phone numbers so we can know if anyone can't make it or needs help.  Contact me on HF or throught the Facebook page with yor number, and I'll give you mine.

Peace and joy be with you, and see you on the trail.