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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Growing Pains

Reflecting on the sites of the last two days and I think of a young nation trying to find its identity. On Sunday we spent most of the day soaking up the history associated with the Cumberland Gap and the push for Westward expansion. It is estimated that today over 48 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to one of the roughly 300,000 who followed such legends as Daniel Boone through the Gap in the Cumberland Mountains. It is a beautiful place and we enjoyed hiking some the same trails used by those early frontiersman.

On Sunday night we drive toward Knoxville, TN and camped at Cove Lake State Park. Again, we had the place to ourselves and on Monday we woke up to a mystical morning – drenched in shades of grey.

Lookout Mountain and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was our first stop on Monday. We have visited many of the Civil war battlefields, cemeteries, and memorials. Yet, we continue to be humbled by the great sacrifice made be the young men on both sides of the battlefield. It is impossible for our generation to even imagine the horror associated with this war. Yet, in the end the nation remained united and… well you know the rest.

Monday night we camped at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, GA. As the name implies, the park is in the Mountains and has some spectacular views.

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On Tuesday, we spent the morning at several Cherokee Nation sites. This is the area where the Trail of Tears began. We visited the Chief Vann House, the Moravian Mission Cemetery, and New Echota. The history is fascinating but clearly not one of our proudest moments as a nation. Growing Pains?

On a lighter note, JoAnne got a chance to see her Brick in the Centennial Olympic Park. It has only taken 16 years to get there.

Tonight we are camping at Red Top Mountain State Park just north of Atlanta.

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