We woke this morning to cloudy skies and headed to the trailhead to walk thru the Cumberland Gap.
We were the first ones here:
First a little history on the Gap:
“The Appalachian Mountains have long been an obstacle in animal migration, and American westward expansion. It is reported that there are only three natural pathways through the treacherous valleys and ridges, one being the Cumberland Gap. During the last ice age, herds of animals in search of food and warmth used this passage to migrate south.
The trail became an asset to Native American groups as well, assisting them during times of war and westward migration. With time and European influence, this rustic footpath became a refined road.
During the 1600s, European hunters spread word about a notch cutting through the mountains. In 1750, physician and explorer Thomas Walker encountered this Appalachian wonder. After exploring a nearby cavern, he referred to it as “Cave Gap”. He came upon a river just north of the gap and named it “Cumberland” after the Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II. The Cumberland Gap passage was named after Walker’s Cumberland River.
In 1775, Daniel Boone and a party of woodsmen were the first to mark the Cumberland Gap trail, as they traveled from Virginia to Kentucky. After the passage gained a steady stream of settlers, the state of Kentucky was admitted into the Union. Up until 1810, the Cumberland Gap was known as “the way West”. Between the 18th and 19th centuries it served as a travel corridor for over 200,000 migrants. The Cumberland Gap remained a major route for travel and trade during the 20th century.”
The post at the start of the trailhead had this neat carving:
Since the skies looked very threatening, we decided to take the Object Lesson Road to the top (it was shorter):
This “Indian Rock” is at the intersection of the Object Lesson Road and the Wilderness Trail:
Now we are on the Wilderness Road – this was a highway until 1996:
Looking down the trail:
We are at the top of the Gap – standing where Daniel Boone once stood!:
Looking eastward – Gap Cave is less than 1/2 mile from here:
Right off the top is this monument marked by D.A.R of four states – each state has a side:
We saw a sign that pointed to the “Tri-State Peak” and decided to take it. (I had lost the trail map and was not sure how far it was so it became an adventure.) It started out nice and easy:
We came upon this interesting site:
And then we went up and up:
To the top:
And stood at the intersection of three states – Cool!:
After hanging out for a while, we made our way down the trail:
Past this interesting tree:
Not sure what was growing up the side of them but it seemed like it was only in this area.
Pinnacle Overlook – where we were yesterday:
Instead of going down Object Lesson Road, we decided to take the Wilderness Road back to the parking lot:
Isn’t this beautiful:
Wilderness Road was blocked right after this area and a trail went off to the right. A short walk later the trail came thru here:
Then it got narrower and narrower – we wondered if we were on a trail or an animal path:
We stopped at one point and saw a couple coming up behind us. They thought we knew where we were going so they followed us – we had a good laugh! We continued on the trail and eventually came back to the parking lot – what an adventure!
What a great hike!
The Cumberland Gap played a part in the Civil War so our next stop was to see one of the battery units.
Another great day!
We made our way back to the campground before the rain started – ! No campfire tonight-