Day 2 Begins
I’m not sure how my tarp stayed in place last night. The wind thrashed it so violently I thought I would end up sleeping with it wrapped around me to not lose it in the tree tops. It held till after midnight when things calmed. The temperature continued to drop till it got down to 23 degrees. I chilled just a little but not dangerously so. The only part of me that went numb was my face and only because I can’t sleep with it inside a stuffy bag.
I’m currently (11am) trudging down hwy 25 toward Berea. Nothing but pavement today. I have Professor Heckbert and some of his students waiting to join me for the Berea portion.
Evening of Day 2
If you’ve been watching the map today you’ll notice it went haywire. The fact is that this is more of a research and educational trip to figure out details for when it is opened to the public. Last year I insisted I walk every inch. This year, not so much. In order to meet mayors, hikers, and others I’ve hopped in Johns truck to cover some of the pavement. I actually walked most of Berea but forgot the SatCom (GPS) in the truck. So that explains the wonky points and lines.
I was met on the trail by Kerri Hensley, Tourism Director for Berea and she walked a portion of Berea with me and Gin Petty, who joined me again today. Gin walked 15 miles yesterday and from Berea to Boone Gap with me today. She is 70 yrs old and an artisan in Berea. She made her living with her craft and out walks most younger people. I’m not one to desire getting autographs and handshakes from celebrities, it’s spending time with real people like Gin that thrill me.
I’m early but setting up camp in Boone Gap tonight.
Thoughts from My Fellow Hikers
Day 1, Boone’s Trace Hike
I followed Curtis on his initial hike in 2015 via the web and, being a Boone admirer of many years, hoped to hike Boone’s Trace in future. Yesterday, April 2, was a truly remarkable day in many ways.
As a Kentuckian, I have an avid interest in Boone, my ancestors having followed Boone into the Bluegrass in the latter 18th-century. Also, as an author, I try to incorporate as much Kentucky history in my books as possible. So yesterday, during the first few miles of hiking, several things stood out to me. Not far from the site of the original fort is the Nathaniel Hart cabin, only the foundation remaining, along the trace. Having researched the Hart family history, coming across this was especially meaningful. Across from this is a pioneer graveyard, another moving site I will revisit soon. We walked on, crossing fields and forests, roads and railroad tracks. I thought how little Boone would likely recognize today aside from Otter Creek and the Kentucky River. Yet I truly sensed his presence and spirit along the way, a lasting legacy that stays with us today. At the end of the first day’s hike, it seemed fitting to conclude at Twitty’s Fort, another meaningful site that changed lives and history.
I kept thinking throughout how vital it is to preserve the trace, honor it by hiking and visiting landmarks along the way, and continuing to remember just how HUGE Boone’s trek was for Americans today. My hope is that schoolchildren can be taken on sections of the trail and that its significance can be taught in history classes. I wish that I could continue on the remaining days of the hike with Curtis and others but my schedule prevents it at this time. Hopefully there will be another trek. Curtis is the best leader for this journey, given his ancestry and also his leadership skills, too many to name here. I’ll always be grateful for our time on the trace and I encourage others to walk it and honor it and keep the memory of Boone and those first settlers alive today.
Many thanks, Laura Frantz
Laura is the author of a number of historical novels. Be sure to visit her website at LauraFrantz.net.