The Tennessee/Virginia portion of the walk is pretty simple and I have a few paper maps to help with the turns in those states. The Kentucky portion however is the tricky one. In the late 1960’s Neal O. Hammon did extensive research to find the path Boone created. He searched through land records in all of the involved counties to find land claims that used the Trace as a boundary marker or reference point. He compiled that information onto topographical maps which is the source of the maps I carry today. There are 25 in all and cover approximately 6-8 miles each and together span the distance from Cumberland Gap to Fort Boonesborough. The Boone Trace appears as a red line on these maps. To see similar maps click here.
Delorme InReach SE 2-way satellite communicator (SC)
This SC is how you will be able to locate me on the map. It sends a signal every 10 minutes to the constellation of satellites circling our planet. It can find me anywhere on the face of the earth and give an accurate location as well as send 160 character messages to my email, twitter or facebook. (Be sure to sign up at the right to receive these daily posts!) A large part of my route is covered by cell service and I will be posting using my smartphone and relying on the SC for the deep, dark woods. This little gadget is also a connection to any emergency service I may need. With a push of the SOS button I am instantly connected to someone who can send a rescue team to save me and let me know exactly why I shouldn’t have done the dumb thing I just did to need a rescue team.
The genesis of this whole “walking with Joshua” idea was to experience some of what my 5X great grandfather experienced as he traveled up Boone Trace to Fort Boonesborough. To make this journey interesting for me I’ve come up with some rules I will attempt to follow. I’m not going to be stupid about it. I’m not a pioneer and I have a time limit and far fewer freedoms than were available in the 1770’s. I can’t hunt for buffalo or trespass across any stretch of land I wish. So here is my “conduct of the trace”.
No wheels on the trace – footpower only. If it’s necessary for me to go off the trail for some reason, I will be dropped back off to continue my journey from the exact same spot.
No fast food – I eat only what I carry. I thought road kill would be ok but my wife said, “no”. I said, “what if it’s fresh?” She said, “NO”. I said, “but what if I see the animal actually get…” She said, “NOOOO”.
No tunnels – I skirt the mountains or go over just like Grandpa.
No sleeping under roofs. The stars will be my blanket (and a warm sleeping bag, and a tarp, and a bivy sac)!
So there you have it; the details and guidelines of my trip. Remember, however, this is winter in the mountains and if a life threatening problem or weather situation occurs I may need to make adjustments.