I just spoke to Curtis and he emailed the following for me to post. But as he shared this entire story with me, he found it amazing that, during a period of radio silence and without reading her words, he came to the same lessons learned that Joan Short had shared with me in an email to him. Sometimes God needs to get you alone in order to teach you life’s valuable lessons. (You can read Joan’s email as a comment under this post.)
Isaac Kremer, of Discover Downtown Middlesboro, drove over to meet Curtis and is walking with him to Martin Station.
Givan is at Martin Station and anxious for Curt’s arrival, which will be around 1:30 p.m. The two will have an approximate six mile hike to Cumberland Gap National Park. Pam Eddy, and others in period clothing, will be there and treat the two men to a pioneer dinner on the trail.
I was more off track than I thought.
I wanted to do this trip just like grandpa Joshua did in 1779. Sleeping under the stars, I thought. Self reliant and carrying everything I needed with no help, I thought.
God taught me something today, I had it all wrong. My knowledge of history was off further than the distance I’m walking.
Here’s the story….
I failed again to find a camping spot I had identified by looking at a map. I couldn’t find the road into the woods and went inside the only business open, a grocery store. I asked if there was a city park around. The lady recognized me from the news paper and said the closest park was in the next town which was several hours by foot. She called the owner of the store to the front and his only solution was for me to spend the night in one of his U-stow rental units. So like an old box of forgotten Bee Gees albums, I put myself in unit 30.
Tucked into my sleeping bag on the cement floor, 2 pair of feet appeared at the crack under the roll up door. “Curtis,” a female voice said. “I’m Pam Eddy”.
Pam is a ranger at Cumberland Gap Nation Park, and someone I would be meeting today, but how in the world did she find me in a storage shed in Rose Hill? I lifted the door to see Pam and the owner of the U-stow standing there. She offered me some accommodations at her cabin not far away with the understanding she would bring me right back to this spot to continue my walk.
Cabin vs. cement. And the winner is…
On the way to the cabin, in her Jeep, we talked about my trip and the troubles I was having sticking to my plans. Pam is a re-enactor and very knowledgeable about the pioneers who came through to Kentucky like grandpa Joshua. She told me that I was attempting to do this trek with far less help than what the original pioneers had.
In the late 1700’s there were many roofs, such as blockhouses and stations, to sleep under along the way. There were merchants selling feed for the animals and supplies to keep the families going. Large groups traveled together for safety.
This wilderness was already a community helping each other and building that very American way of life by standing tough together to accomplish their dreams.
If I’m going to truly walk with Joshua, I need to pull my head out of my backpack and walk with a sense of community and not just through a community.