Cumberland Gap Area – Days 2 and 3

I’m down to my last 2 posts from our October 2020 vacation!

Our 2nd day at Cumberland Gap was another beautiful one. (Day 1 recap here) E loves her cozy little spot in Woody and waking up to pretty fall colors:

We could have walked from our campground right up Lewis Hollow Trail to Ridge Trail to Cumberland Gap but it would have taken us ALL day so we decided to drive up to the Visitor Center, get our Junior Ranger books, and then drive to the Thomas Walker Parking Area and start our first hike from there.

Dr Walker was the first white traveler to document Cumberland Gap (in 1750). His travels eventually led to Daniel Boone’s discoveries and then the migration of 200,000-300,000+ settlers. Before white people found this “short cut”, the Natives were following trails of bison through here. (Side note: We did see bison when we passed the state park right near our campground. So they have some there if anybody wants to see them! We got our bison fill in Yellowstone. When we saw these bison, simultaneously we all said our Yellowstone tradition… “It’s just a bison”)

Wilderness Road Trail / Daniel Boone Trail leads to the Tri State Peak… what an interesting character in history Daniel Boone is! He’s probably the most famous person associated with Cumberland Gap and the opening of the west. One interesting tidbit we learned is that Aaron Boone (former Yankee and now Yankees manager) is his descendant.

Here’s B and the kiddos being silly as he rations out our hike candy. We learned this trick many months ago. Thanks to nerds – AB finally surrendered to hiking with us without a lot of whining and crying haha.

As we walked this historic trail – it was pretty incredible to think of all the hundreds of thousands of pioneers whose feet touched this exact path. It’s amazing what people can endure as they pursue their dreams!

Here’s B and AB sitting in both Virginia and Tennessee. Who says you can’t be 2 places at once!

3 kiddos right next to each other in 3 different states:

And each kiddo being in 3 states at once:

E made a video for her dance teacher:

Next, we drove up to Pinnacle Overlook where you can see the gap. (No big RVs or trailers on this road so you’ll have to hike from Thomas Walker Parking Area or the Visitor Center if you come with your big vehicle).

Here you can see how they made the tunnel and current highway go through the mountain instead of over:

We got our Junior Ranger badges:

And then it was time for hammock rest, dinner, smores, and Narnia by the fire!

For our 3rd day we chose to do a longer hike on Ridge Trail from the Pinnacle Overlook area:

RR got a turn with my camera on this hike:

I am so happy to report that on this trail AB said “Hiking really isn’t that bad. I like it!” The sour patch kids instead of nerds seems to help. 🙂

The colors were great up there! And after a nice lunch at one of the picnic areas on that road to the overlook, we got a special treat and headed to Kentucky:

Kentucky parks are free and Pine Mountain State Resort Park is just a few miles away from the Gap.

We really enjoyed the fresh air, more green moss, pretty colors and the dense forest floor here…. but we found out very quickly that E is NOT meant to be in the side seats of the truck. For all our travels she has been in the middle seat… but they decided to switch it up and the combination of not seeing out the front window, majorly windy roads, and that ice cream special treat was a BAD combo. We cut our day short and got back to Woody pronto!

RR and AB were content as can be just playing at the campsite:

And after a nice nap in her cozy spot, E was right back to running and playing:

We really enjoyed this campground and the fall colors and fresh air. It was very hazy off and on but at least it didn’t rain! We couldn’t get Darius Rucker “Wagon Wheel” out of our head for days ha! But it was worth it. This was another great national park and great campground that gave us great memories!

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