Following our lunch under the pines, we continue towards Poinsett State Park and the end of our hike. I know we’re near the the end now, there is a public parking lot ahead for staging mountain bikes and horses, our hiking trail passes through it on the way to the state park. However as we emerge from under the tall pines, about a half mile from this parking lot, we are presented a view which is hard to describe. The hills rising up in front of us are raw, striped bare of all living things. I am a little surprised at the completeness of the destruction. We hike up from the creek bed to the top of the hill and look around. Hundreds of acres of nature, wiped away. There are no bushes. There is no grass. There is no wildlife. There are no more trails. The only things remaining, are charred broken sticks where a forest once was. Even the tree stumps are cut so close to the ground as to be nonexistent. The caretakers of the land have sold off their charge to the highest bidder. This saddens me greatly. I look around for a sign of our trail, out of habit I guess, only to realize following a trail here doesn’t really matter any more. We strike out across the wasteland to get to the road crossing as quickly as we can. We pick up the trail and crossing over in to the state park side of the hike, I am relieved to find one of my favorite parts of this hike still intact, the little forest of scrub oaks draped with Spanish moss. But as I look back sadly, with a heavy heart, at the desolate, charred, waste behind me, I wonder … who speaks for the trees?