Thursday, March 16, 2023

A Trek into the Wilderness and Good News from Home!

(Above:  Another glorious sunrise at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Since arriving as the artist-in-residence at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, I've walked every listed trail ... some multiple times!  Yet, I was told that there was once another trail accessed from the western side of the refuge off of highway 25, down a country lane called Keaton Tower Road (read:  unimproved road ... or just gravel).  The trail hasn't been maintained in years.  It's in the "wilderness" area of the refuge, a large section of hardwood trees, swamps, and the meandering Oktoc and Cypress creeks.  Unbelievably, I found a tiny, green dotted line on Google Maps.  So, off I went to hike through the woods!

(Above:  Entry into the wilderness.)

Keaton Tower Road ends in a flat, dirt circle with a sign restricting any further motorized vehicles.  The path looked wide and very promising ... and was until I came to the place at the far end of this photo.  Then, only a narrow path existed.

The path was beside wisteria overhanging the muddy water of Pete Slough.

It continued beside clearly water.  I consulted Google Maps ... because the tiny, green dotted line was on the opposite side of the creek ... which was way too wide and deep for me to easily cross.

Pushing aside briars and grapevines and small trees, I went further along the creek's edge ... finding places that looked as if they might have been the former trail.  I came upon this broken and overgrown, man-structure.  Surely, this wasn't supposed to be a crossing.

Further along, I found this downed tree.  While I'd scrambled over other tree trunks on my "undefined" wilderness trail, I wasn't above to try crossing here!


Thankfully, I found this foot bridge.  It had a label.  It was an Eagle Scout project back in 1997.  It looked sturdy enough despite the odd angle ... and I crossed easily.

For about a half hour, I tried going forward ... often consulting Google Maps just to see if I was moving in the direction of the tiny, green dotted line.  From the looks of my iPhone's screen, the trail was once a nice five or six mile loop.  At this point in time, it would be more than an adventure and not something I should do.  My mind raced with a comic scene:  Refuge rangers trying to call my husband Steve back in Columbia to explain that I idiotically got lost in the wilderness.  Funny ... but only if it didn't happen!  I turned around.  I couldn't retrace my own steps but I found the creek, then the footbridge, and finally my car!

It was beautiful though.  The root systems of downed pine trees were amazing, and I saw all sorts of vegetation and insects.  I used my new Merlin bird ID app to record tweets.  It felt wonderful to be in a place few have ever been.  This is one of the best reasons for an art residency!  At the end of this post are some of the photos I took during the day!

(Above:  Approaching sunset.  View from the Goose Overlook.)

Another reason for truly enjoying every art residency is the fact that I have time for sunrises.  Here at Noxubee, I'm often on the Goose Overlook for sunset too.  There's something very special about slowing down enough to notice daily miracles.

(Above:  Composite image of the three artworks headed to Estonia!)

In the meantime, Steve has been back in Columbia "holding down the fort".  This entailed assisting with an important opportunity.  About two months ago, I was contacted by the Art in Embassies Program and asked to lend three pieces for the Ambassadorial residence in Tallinn, Estonia.  Large Stained Glass LXXIV, Lancet Window CCXXIII (St, Martin's Cross), and Lancet Window CCXXXII were selected ...

... expertly wrapped by a professional shipping crew ...

... and loaded into a panel truck.  They will return in a few years!  (Thanks, Steve, for snapping these images!) I'm over the moon!  Now ... below are some of my nature pictures from "the Mississippi wilderness". Enjoy!



Margaret said...

You are indeed more adventurous than I! Yes, my recent residency included a 45-minute lecture and demo on how to use bear spray, but bears weren't as prevalent in the Rogers Pass area of B.C. as those alligators you wrote about in your last post. I agree about that log crossing; I wouldn't have attempted it either!

But the flora are amazing -- the texture of that log/tree trunk especially. Oh my! And congrats and kudos to Steve and helpers for getting that other work shipped out to its destination! Well done!

Christine said...

Stunning post! What an adventure you've had.... So pleased you've photographed it, adventures are few and far between...
Congrats on the Embassy lends.....

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

love the inspiration

and the "loan of art"

cheers Catherine