Day 12 – Quilt Patterns and Windy Gap

Walking began at 8:03 a.m.

I had always wondered about the meaning of these quilt patterns on barns. Just decoration or was there a deeper meaning? I had the chance to ask the farmer who owns this barn.

Photo Credit: Curtis Penix

Photo Credit: Curtis Penix

When the tobacco industry started to go down and the barns were no longer needed, the state of Kentucky encouraged the farmers to decorate them with these quilt patterns. Furniture companies buy up the old barns to use the wood for new furniture which could be very profitable but also looses a part of rural history.

This particular pattern was a sign to traveling escaped slaves that freedom was ahead. This is signified by the square in the middle along with the color red. Along the underground railroad, emancipationists would help the slaves by leaving quilts with hidden messages in the patterns. People like the folks here at Freedom Farms still remember all God’s people were created to be free.

Walk on,
Curtis

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Windy Gap

If you want to walk in the footsteps of Daniel Boone you can go to one of two places, Cumberland Gap National Park or Levi-Jackson State Park. Both Parks have preserved small sections of the original Boone Trace with parking lots, bathrooms and concession/gift shops. These have been popular tourist spots for decades and draw many vacationing historyophiles.

The actual Boone Trace was over a hundred miles long from the gap to the fort so why isn’t there more sections preserved? That’s actually a product of why the trace was established in the first place. The “American Dream” of owning your own home on a piece of land and building a life of your own choosing is what drove people to Kentucky in the first place.

The new wilderness got smaller as the private land got bigger. And the original Boone Trace was absorbed into farms, factories, blacktop and backyards. Thanks to the work of John Fox and his organization, the Friends of Boone Trace, today we know of many more sections that have been hiding in inconspicuous places and in plain view. One of those hidden sections is where Givan and I will be camping tonight.

Windy Gap (not to be confused with a wind gap) is in the center of Daniel Boone National Forest. A hefty walk off the dirt road, up a gully and atop a tree shrouded cliff is a level piece of ground. If you look closely at the contour of the ground you will see a long, dished out trail that follows the curve of the cliff. It is wide enough to have carried wagons and with the size of the trees growing between the “curbs” it is obvious the wagons have been long gone. The view from the top of the cliff is beautiful and I hope to have some photos on the site soon.

This is just one of many sections John has found as he studied the research of Neal O. Hammon from the late 60’s. (Today Neal and John are good buddies) As the list of authentic portions grows and the dots on the map are connected through this expedition, a continuous trail can be established along the creeks, through the valleys and atop the cliffs to give others the chance to walk on this path that gave birth to the American Dream.

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