Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Following in the footsteps of history</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Following in the footsteps of history

After the devastating loss at the Alamo on March 6, 1836, The Texas Army and settlers began what came to be known as "the runaway scrape". The settlers made a mad dash for the United States to the east, while the army retreated slowly, attempting to gain volunteers, supplies and training along the way.

The army arrived at the banks of the Brazos River just north of San Felipe de Austin on March 28, 1836. Sam Houston, newly appointed commander, decided that rather than cross the river and possibly lead the Mexican Army toward retreating civilians, he'd bring his army north along the west side of the river and attempt to draw the Mexican army with him. He posted garrisons at river crossings, and took the bulk of his army north.

It is this path that your intrepid wanderer chose as my annual trek on the Sam Houston Trail. Actually, true to my nature, I did it backwards. I started about eleven miles north and hiked roughly southward to San Felipe.

The path was a mixture of dirt, gravel and asphalt roads. Along the way I passed farms, mobile homes and a variety of domiciles, from tackboard to brick, siding to stone. Many were habitated, some were abandoned.

I passed another dilapidated church, this one built over a century ago. The good news is, a new one was being built next to it. The bad news - only one guy was building it. Speaking to him, I got the impression that the congregation was fired up about the project, but apparently had other things to do that day. A sad commentary on the state of American perseverance.

I also passed the ACME Brick factory in the middle of a long desolate stretch of dirt road. The stacks of bricks conveniently displayed out front didn't fool me. You and I both know this has to be the secret manufacturing plant that produces rockets, catapults and other dastardly paraphernalia that allows Wile E. Coyote to execute his nefarious plans.

I crossed over a bridge above a waterway that was littered with debris. I've heard of a river bed before, but a river sofa? And this sofa was half buried in silt, so it had obviously been there awhile, accompanied by tires, car parts and old appliances. I guess heavy trash pickup was one of the first public services this area lost in order to pay for our war on terror.

I stayed overnight with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Stephen F. Austin State Park, that is. The weather was actually perfect for outdoor sleeping, in the 50s, but I'm told that after I left the next day they had a front move in with golf ball-sized hail, and I guess that qualifies as "cold stone".

The park is a popular camping spot, so it was full. After an eleven mile hike, I turned in pretty early, while the other campers did not. I fell asleep while a festival erupted around me in a cacaphony containing every imaginable audible frequency range.

I awoke in the morning to a similar cacaphony, this time of an avarian nature. The songs of the birds were similar to those of the mammals the night before, yet much more orchestrated. Many conclusions can be drawn from this, but the one that chiefly comes to mind is that in nature, different species can co-exist and still thrive. Competition is there, but seldom leads to extinction. When humans are involved? Not so much.

So there you have it. I made it home, and in time for the Foxworthy roast on Comedy Central. No worse for wear and tear, and perhaps a little wiser. Nothing left to do but put an ending to this adventure and this story, although nothing immediately comes to mind.

Wait, an inspiration! How about this?

Git 'er done!


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