Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cumberland Gap, August 25-26

Metal Sculpture Depicting
Boone with Indian Guide
When I heard about the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, my mind and imagination went immediately to Daniel Boone's TV exploits.  As a child of the 50's and 60's, Daniel Boone has been immortalized in the likeness of Fess Parker, who also played Davy Crockett.  

Large Painting in Visitor Center
showing Boone leading pioneers
through the Cumberland Gap
on the Wilderness Road
But, once I got there I learned of a man, not so much in a coonskin hat, but a man who was commissioned to blaze a Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap.  This gap is the only natural opening for hundreds of miles in the Appalachian Mountain System.  Boone and his wife faced much hardship as he attempted to build the road multiple times, including the death of two of their sons.  Eventually he did finish the road and led pioneers through to settle into Kentucky.

Canon at an earthworks fort where
Civil War soldiers dug in.
After overnighting at the park's Wilderness Road Campground, I took a couple of scenic drives and hikes.  I learned that during the Civil War, both the Confederates and Union occupied the Cumberland Gap at different times.  They were not driven off by the opposing side, rather the bad winter weather made them abandon their posts.  Finally neither side used the Cumberland Gap as a strategic position because the road became impassable.

From atop the Pinnacle Overlook I could see three states -- Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

On the ridge through the trees --
Virgina in front,
Tennessee to the left,
Kentucky to the right.

Can you see my friend who
visited me at the overlook?

originally posted 9/28/10

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