By Floyd Ingram
HOUSTON – Jim Wiginton grinned as he stepped over the yellow line at the southern gateway to the Tanglefoot Trail.
“This is great,” said the 88-year-old from Corinth. “Yes, I’m a little tired, but it feels great.”
Tanglefoot Trail Manager Don Locke said as far as he knows, Wiginton was the first to walk the entire 44.5-mile path from New Albany to Houston.
“The trail has gotten the attention of a lot of cyclists,” said Locke. “I also think those who live near the trail use it regularly to walk a mile or two. But as far as I know Mr. Wiginton is the first to walk it from north to south. I think it is a great accomplishment.”
Wiginton was quick to point out he did not walk the entire trail at one time.
“I walked from whistle stop to whistle stop and from town to town,” said Wiginton. “I usually got someone to drop me off and we usually made a dinner date out of each stop.”
Wiginton made the final and longest walk on a recent Saturday, with the 10-mile trek from New Houlka to Houston.
“I really do think that may be the prettiest part of the trail,” said Wiginton. “It is more rural and there is a place where the trees reach over the trail that is just gorgeous this fall.”
Wiginton said he worked for Sears & Roebuck and his office job always prompted him to stay active on the weekend.
“Get you a good pair of shoes, dress for the weather and just walk until you get tired,” said Wiginton. “No, I can’t do what I could when I was younger, but I do think this walk forced me to do a little more than I thought I could.”
Wiginton said he will now try to get his wife and a few friends to make the trek.
“It was a lot of fun and I got to meet so many people by walking,” said Wiginton. “I’ve done the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, S.C., but it is only 13 miles and this is so much prettier and it’s in our backyard.”