On Sunday we headed south to Kentucky and took the scenic HWY 127 all the way to Lake Cumberland. At one point as we were driving through the state capital of Frankfort, we were simultaneously on HWY 127 South and HWY 421 North while heading west past the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Going south and north at the same time while heading west with bourbon close at hand...that pretty much sums up Antebellum Kentucky! In any event, we spent two wonderful days on Lake Cumberland (I'm sure The Bug will tell you about it).
Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland
Cumberland Falls, Daniel Boone National Forest
Tuesday we headed east, then southeast, bound for Hickory, NC to spend time with our families. We took South 25E through Cumberland Gap, stopping for a break at the Cumberland Gap National Park. We had driven through some smoke earlier, and apparently a smaller fire is burning north of Pineville, but at the Gap, the air was clear and the sun warm. The ranger told us it would be a splendid day to go up to the Pinnacle overlook, so we did!
You are probably familiar with the Gap as the original land route into Kaintuck, discovered by Dr. Thomas Walker and improved by Daniel Boone. Bingham's painting from the 1850s is an iconic portrayal of Anglo-American westward expansion.
In time and with improvements, the old Cumberland Trace became the Wilderness Road.
Heading up to the Pinnacle overlook...forest fire north of Pikeville, wherein is located Cumberland Ford, a favorable spot for travelers to cross the Cumberland River.
Internet image of a sign I never seem able to stop and photograph...
Union soldiers passing through Cumberland Gap, Harpers Weekly, October 10, 1863
The Bug says, "Everywhere we go there is a cannon!" Yup.
The Bug at McCook's Battery, one of the batteries securing the Gap for the Union
View of Martin's Fork Lake from the Pinnacle Trail
Fort Lyon, high above the Gap, named for Nathaniel Lyon, the first American general to die in battle since the War of 1812! He would be followed by many, many more ere the Civil War was over
The euphemistically named "Pinnacle Rock"
Onward and Upward to the Ft. Lyon overlook
Earthworks! And my shadow taking this picture
Tennessee far below
Looking up at Ft. Lyon earthworks
Looking up toward Ft. Lyon from the Pinnacle overlook
Late autumn color, looking down into Tennessee
Modern South 25E
Tennessee side of the tunnel
Looking back toward Pikeville
There are other "pinnacle" formations...The Bug thinks this is a sea horse
Not sure what's going on here...
Heading into the tunnel from Kentucky
Such a magnificent day! Our drive from Cumberland Gap to Greeneville, TN was truly beautiful, despite the horrible drought conditions along the way. The drive from there to Weaverville, in the dark along a winding mountain road that only I would have taken (it was the shortest route to Asheville), was...an adventure. As we descended toward Asheville, we were again reminded of the devastating forest fires in our beloved southern Appalachians. Godspeed to all that fight them. Stay safe and thank you! Many of these brave folks will spend Thanksgiving in the trenches, fighting to contain fires in a literal tinderbox. Many others, like our nephew, are about as far from home as one can imagine, fighting the global war on terror. May they know they are loved and thanked for their service. Remember to duck, Doc! With love and hope for a brighter future, somehow, someway, and with gratitude to be alive and kicking, even if it is the wall,
your Dr. L/M, always.
your Dr. L/M, always.