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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Object Lesson Road to Tri-State Peak

It's Valentine's Day in southeastern Wisconsin. Wayne is on his annual ice fishing trip with the fellas and I'm trying to get up the nerve to leave the house today.  Isn't it romantic?

cold and snow...why did I come home?

I'd rather think of the hike I took on Monday after driving from Tennessee to Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky.  I left Cory in the car to enjoy his nap and I followed the advice of the ranger in the Visitor Center and hiked Object Lesson Road trail to Tri-State Peak.  It was about 2.5 miles round trip and took a little over an hour for me to complete.

Unlike in Wisconsin the landscape is always interesting in Kentucky, even in winter.  And compared to the hikes I'd recently done in Tennessee and South Carolina the hike to Tri-State Peak was comparatively easy with an elevation gain of only 700 feet.

Hills, rocks, streams, and don't forget lichens and moss keep things interesting in winter.  Who needs snow?  Certainly not me!

Why is the trail called "Object Lesson"?  At the turn of the 20th century most roads in Appalachia were no better than the paths of the early settlers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored the building of short segments of crushed rock roads graded for good drainage in key high visibility spots around the nation.  The "object lesson" was to convince voters of the convenience and value of building better roads and this was one of them.

Object Lesson Road

When Wayne and I stopped here before we explored Pinnacle Mountain and found a lot of Civil War history there.  Cumberland Gap is more than a strategic point for the war though, it was a route through the mountains for wildlife and Native Americans.  The Shawnee and the Cherokee used the area as their hunting grounds, and when Dr. Thomas Walker discovered the "gap" between in the mountain range it opened up the way for early settlers to move westward.

This is where Daniel Boone crossed into Kentucky in the late 1700's, and there were a few markers on the intersecting trails commemorating his journey.  I was more interested in the lichens on those markers than the markers themselves, though now I'm curious about Daniel Boone and will probably be doing some reading up on the subject.

Eventually I reached my destination at Tri-State Peak, where  Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia all come together.  It got me to thinking that Virginia is one state we haven't spent any time in at all yet...

I was tempted by the Cumberland Trail as it moved further on the Fort Farragut, but resisted the temptation somehow...

Instead I hustled back down the mountain to rejoin Cory and continue on our way to the KOA in  Corbin.  Just as I got back to the car it started to sprinkle and the rest of the afternoon it drizzled as the temperature dropped so it turns out I timed my stop for a hike perfectly.

Spring wildflowers are in bloom at Cumberland Gap at the beginning of April but I won't be able to return to check them out because I'll be busy helping cover the other office that month when my boss has her baby.  But...when I returned from this trip Wayne had finally gotten his turn picking vacation days for the year and we have all our days picked, though we don't know for sure where we'll be going.  One thing we were able to nail down was enough days off in August and September for an RV trip to Newfoundland!  Unless something happens to change things, our plan is for Wayne and Cory to drive to Newfoundland and I'll follow by plane a week later.  Cory will fly home and I'll get to enjoy the trip across the island and back through the Northeast at a leisurely pace.

I have a few more posts from the trip, including our stop in Frankfort for a few hours on Tuesday  to write up, but I think I'll go brew a cup of Republic of Tea's strawberry chocolate roobois tea and get to figuring out where Wayne and I will be going in May, June and October!


  1. With weather like you're having, it's a good idea to remember that hike instead.

  2. With the lack of snow for skiing in my neck of the woods, I'm finding winter is a great time to go hiking. Looks like an interesting trail. Glad you made it home safe and sound. Too bad you can't send the snow to our mountains instead.

  3. Planning future trips for nicer weather is what use to keep me going in the cold northeastern winters. Newfoundland sounds like a great place to visit. Continue to dream as you watch the snow fall:)

  4. I'm not sure it's any colder in Wisconsin than it is in Virginia, high today 18, low 2. This is a hell of a winter for the mid Atlantic. Your lichen pictures are always so wonderfully colorful. You have really added to my appreciation of them. I also love the pictures you take of yourself on the trail. I need to get one of those thingamabobs that you use.