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In the early '70s, my wife and I had been introduced to the Tunica Hills, a wild spot on the border of Louisiana and Mississippi where, despite the general flatness of the landscape, there were high bluffs and even small waterfalls. When we first saw the spot there was a barely discernable trail down steep ridges to the creek bed but by the mid '80's there had even been television articles on the area and the trail had become a twenty-foot-wide eroding smear that was littered with trash. When we backpacked into the area we carried sacks of trash out in a losing effort to salvage some of the natural beauty.

The authorities finally decided that the only way to heal the damage was to shut the area down to the public for a while. This had been our favorite backpacking and camping spot and we were sorry to lose this resource but agreed that it was actually the best thing for the area. We decided to make one last camping trip to Tunica on the last weekend it would be open to overnight camping.

My wife and her two sisters made the arduous hike down into the creek bed and eventually set up camp beside a waterfall. As darkness fell, we saw a few fireflies. This was remarkable in itself because fireflies had largely disappeared from Baton Rouge. The darker it got, the more fireflies we saw, until there were literally thousands of flashing lights. I don't know if this was a particular time of year, temperature or location or just what, but the sight was absolutely breathtaking. After about fifteen minutes to a half hour, the lights generally disappeared until the woods were dark again. We hiked out the next day but seeing all those fireflies that night is something I'll remember for the rest of my life.





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