The Saga of Miles Forrest

It took nearly two hours before we chugged into Silverton and I was able to get to a livery for a horse and head back to the scene of the robbery.  Since the engineer was killed the fireman was able to get the train moving with one of the brakemen acting as fireman.  I wasn’t worried about finding tracks, for a buckboard would be hard to hide, but I was concerned some about the hostages.  I wanted to be sure to find them before night came for even though it was still summer, at this altitude it could get cold at night.
    Following the tracks of the wagon wouldn’t be hard, but I figured that somewhere close they would discard it, split the money, and take off on horses and possibly have pack animals.  Then the tracking would start.  On top of that they were now charged either with murder or conspiracy to commit murder.
    The outlaws had only two ways to go.  They couldn’t follow the rails into Silverton and certainly couldn’t go south into the canyon.  They could go east, but they would have to go overland quite a distance for there were no roads, only here and there some ruts into a miner’s camp.  No, it had to be west, up toward Molas Lake and the road.  How far they would travel with the wagon I didn’t know.  It was two miles of non-road, overland travel to the lake.  However, from there they had several options.
    This was a time I surely wish I had Hawk with me.  That horse was bred and trained for mountain travel.  The horse I was riding was left in the livery by one of the inhabitants of Silverton that had a severe case of lead poisoning.  It was a fair enough horse, but couldn’t compare a lick to Hawk.  I urged him into an easy trot.
    Even with a murder now on their record, I was real fretful about what might happen to the ladies with them.  I had no clue as to their experience in the wilderness and looking up at the sky there could be a storm brewing that would hit sometime in the night.  With that in mind, I gave the horse a little kick to hurry it along.
    The tracks led gradually toward Molas Lake and it was on a continual but gradual upgrade.  As I topped the ridge I could look down upon a low area where I could see the lake.  Stopping I wanted to observe where they might have gone, and upon looking toward the north I spotted the wagon.
    If there is such a thing as hurrying slowly, I did it.  I was almost certain that none of the outlaws would stick around, but there was always that chance that a couple might be there for an ambush.  It didn’t pay to hurrying too much, especially without taking time to observe the country.
    Molas Lake is just off the road from Durango to Silverton.  The wagon stopped at the northside of the lake.  From the lake it was about six miles or so down into Silverton.  The road continued on upward toward Red Mountain Pass and into Ouray.  As I approached I could see two of the women sitting in the back of the way.  I wondered where the third woman was.
    They weren’t very alert; dozing I expected as I rode up on them.  “You ladies all right,” I yelled brining my horse to a stop at the wagon.
    Jumping to the ground, they began fixing themselves, trying to make them presentable.  One of them, a lady dressed in greenish colored dress exclaimed, “Thank the Lord someone finally showed up!”  She was making it sound like I took my lazy old time to find them.
    The other lady was dressed a little more drab and that fit her face which looked as if she had been weaned on a dill pickle.  She nigh shouted at me, “Why did you let those hoodlums kidnap us?  They could have done all manner of evil!”
    “I reckoned at the time that it was more prudent to let them take you, than it was to start shooting with you in-between me and the outlaws,” I replied, then gave her a smile.  I wanted to say more, but held myself back.  Looking around, I asked, “Where is the other lady?”
    They pointed toward the lake.  Before I left them to get her, I took my time to look around for tracks.  There were six men with two pack animals.  Then it dawned on me that they horses for the wagon weren’t there.  Now that presented another problem.  How to get the women into Silverton.
    Giving the horse a nudge I started down toward the lake and noticed a figure, the woman, walking up toward the road.  She happened to see them before I did–supply wagons coming down the road.  I now applied a slight spur to the horse to get to the road before the woman.  As the horse moved out from the lake I put it in the middle of the road hoping that the wagons would stop.  One man, a horseback they might think an ambush was planned.  
    Then a man on the second wagon shouted, “There’s a woman walking up from the lake!”
    The wagons stopped and I rode easily up to the lead wagon.  After exchanging pleasantries I informed them that I was a Deputy U.S. Marshal, and told them what had happened.
    “Do you have enough room for three ladies to ride?” I asked.
    “Well, I don’t….”
    Before he could finish I interrupted.  “If not, three of your riders will have to get off.  You are goin’ to take these ladies on down to Silverton.”
    The woman who had been walking up from the lake was slightly winded due to the altitude.  She sighed, then gave them a smile.  “I’m Constance Fremont and I’d surely appreciate a ride.”
    A man hoped down off the wagon.  “Why shore,” he said then helped her up on the seat by the driver.  “My name’s Lyle and that ol’ coot drivin’ is called ‘Rascal.'”
    The other two women down at the abandoned wagon saw what was happening and started walking up toward the road.  Within a few minutes they were perched on the seats of the other two wagons.
    Rascal let out a shout, released the brake, snapped the reins and the wagons were off…

Echoes From the Campfire

We often value the wrong things.  We can spend our lives working to surround ourselves with things that don’t matter.  We can sacrifice the things that do matter, to gain those things that don’t.”
              –Dan Arnold  (Bear Creek)

    “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
              –Matthew 4:17 (NKJV)
         “The Lord of glory is my light
          And my salvation, too.
          God is my strength, nor will I fear
          What all my foes can do.”
                  –Isaac Watts

Are you fearful about the future?  Do you get worried about the elections of 2020?  Are you afraid to walk out your door for fear of being shot or molested?  Where are your thoughts?  What should they be on?  What is your greatest desire?  The first part of Psalm 27 has the answers for these questions.

         1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?
         2 – When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
         3 – Though an army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid; though a war breaks out against me, still I am confident.
         4 – I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.
         5 – For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.
         6 – Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.  I will sing and make music to the Lord. (HCSB)

    Right from the start we see, we know, we can have the assurance that we can go through this world with God by our side.  He is our protection whether it be in this physical realm or from attacks in the spiritual realm.  God is with us, therefore, we can walk with confidence.
    Your greatest desire, what is it?  Many will say more money or wealth, some might say a new car, others may want peace or ease.  Notice:  David’s greatest desire, the one thing he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord.  So many Christians live from day to day, others live for self.  David was yearning for heaven.  How many believers see Heaven the most?  A verse that we should grab hold of tightly and never let go is where Paul wrote in Philippians, “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” (1:21, HCSB)
    Here is something that you should try; it might prove to be interesting.  What are your weaknesses?  Write down just three.  Then go to the Scripture and look at how God is perfect in that area.  Then turn to Him, begin to praise Him in that area of your weakness knowing that He is there with you and is able to protect you and help you overcome.
    I like the prayer of Jean Baptiste Avrillon:

         “Adorable Sun, enlighten my steps.  Be thou the true noonday of my soul; exterminate its darkness, disperse its clouds; burn, dry up and consume all its filth and impurities.  Divine Sun, rise upon my mind and never set.”

Of course, he was speaking not of the “sun” but of the divine Son of God–Jesus Christ.  Look at who Christ is in our life, if we allow Him to work.  Grasp hold of that last phrase, “rise upon my mind and never set.”

Echoes From the Campfire

No man or woman passes my cabin in a month.  But I am never lonely.  I love these vast canyon walls towering above me.  And the silence is so sweet.”
              –Zane Grey  (Call of the Canyon)

    “Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.”
              –Psalm 107:30 (NKJV)
Very few of us enjoy solitude.  Most folk like to be with the crowd, the noise and excitement; to be alone, shut away from everything might seem nice for maybe an hour.  Take the phone away for an hour and see what happens.  Think of the reason that you go to church; it is not for solitude, but most people say the most important thing about church is fellowship.  Folks just can’t handle solitude, yet it is important that we seek and cherish times of solitude.  Jesus often sought solitude.

         “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
                   –Mark 1:35 (NKJV)

I came across the following thoughts on solitude in my reading this week.

         “Solitude is the garden for our hearts, which yearn for love.  It is the place where our aloneness can bear fruit.  It is the home for our restless bodies and anxious minds.  Solitude, whether it is connected with a physical space or not, is essential for our spiritual lives.  It is not an easy place to be, since we are so insecure and fearful that we are easily distracted by whatever promises immediate satisfaction.  Solitude is not immediately satisfying, because in solitude, we meet our demons, our addictions, our feelings of lust and anger, and our immense need for recognition and approval.  But if we do not run away, we will meet there also the One who says, ‘Do not be afraid.  I am with you, and I will guide you through the valley of darkness.’  Let’s keep returning to our solitude.”

With all the turmoil in the world and in our nation, there is a need for solitude.  I am not talking about escaping the world, for Jesus never did that, but he found time to be alone with His heavenly Father.  If Jesus needed that how much more do we need it!

Echoes From the Campfire

Never give up to the desert or to any of its minions!  Never cease to fight!  You must fight to live—an’ so make that fight equally for your mind an’ your soul!”
              –Zane Grey  (Wanderer of the Wasteland)

       “There is no fear of God before his eyes.  For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.  The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good.  He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.”
              –Psalm 36:1-4 (NKJV)
I want to take another look at compromise this morning.  How often do people forsake truth for tolerance?  They give over to emotions and feelings versus holding firm to conviction.  Does happiness takes precedence over obedience to the Word of God?  We are called to obey rather than to give in to the tide of political correctness.
    Briefly, take a look at the first chapter of Judges.
         1:6 – mutilation was a pagan practice (hmmm, i.e, abortion).  Judah began to draw its standards from the people around them–only partial obedience.
         1:19 – they began to trust in iron chariots rather than God–diminished power is the result of diminished faith.
         1:21 – Benjamin failed to drive out the Jebusites.
         1:29 – Ephraim failed to drive out the Canaanites.
         1:30 – Zebulun allowed the Canaanites to dwell among them and become forced laborers.
         1:31 – Asher dwelt with the Canaanites.
         1:33 – Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants.
         1:34 – Dan was forced into the mountains, and later on Dan ceases to exist as a tribe.  They are no longer recognizable because of their compromise.
Rather than whole-heartedly obeying God, they did so only in part.  They compromised.  Perhaps one of the saddest commentaries in Scripture can be found in Judges 2:2-3 (NKJV).

          “‘And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?’ Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’”

This country was founded upon Biblical principles, but to look at much of what is happening now it is easy to see that many of these principles are being bent, twisted, ignored, or forsaken.  Listen!  Compromise always leads to Catastrophe!
    Take a look at 2:5, “Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord.” (NKJV)  The word “Bochim” means “weeping.”  Compromise will bring you to a place of weeping.  There will be brokenness because of half-hearted devotion and obedience.  Don’t blame the government–the Democrats or Republicans–for our dilemma.  Blame the people, especially half-hearted believers who have led the nation to weeping.
    Someone has said that the most miserable people in the world are professing believers who will not commit themselves to the Lord.  We are getting to the point, however, where there are those who prefer not to be called “Christians,” and I can see why for they have removed Christ from their life.  They are no longer Christ-like.
    But, on the brighter note–there are those blood-bought believers who are standing up to the test.  They are not giving in to the world, or the devil.  Walk away this morning with, not a song on your lips, but one etched deep in your soul.

              “When we walk with the Lord
               In the Light of His Word
               What a glory He sheds on our way!
               While we do His good will,
               He abides with us still,
               And with all who will trust and obey.

                    Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
                    To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
                             –J.H. Sammis