Exploring the Cumberland Gap trail

For OU’s Spring Break my friends Evan and Eli and I ventured to Tennessee to thru-hike the Tennessee River Gorge Segment of the Cumberland Gap trail, a historic trail system that marks the first major passage for early American settlers through the Appalachian (and Cumberland) Mountains. It was my first backpacking excursion and it couldn’t have gone better. We experienced a variety of weather, from sun and wind to rain, hail, snow and the rest. We had cold, fireless nights and idyllic bonfires in between. During the day, we trekked over mountains, along ridge-line bluffs and cliff edges, all the while gaining a deeper respect for the Appalachians. Potentially the oldest mountains in the world, the range is a feat of erosion, tectonic action and immense time (about 480 millions years, if you’re interested). It was humbling to admire many artifacts of the formation of the Earth along our hike. Tennessee now belongs on a growing list of Southern states that have astounded me with their beauty and kind population. Many thanks to Larry, our trail angel, who volunteered to pick us up at the end of our hike and shared with us neat info about the state’s trails.  I took many more mental pictures than I did digital negatives but here is a sample of the best of the latter.

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