Settlers Musuem and Alvarado Station


So with my ankle injury still not up to carrying my full pack for hiking on the appalachian trail I decided to do some light hiking and visit some historic sites around Atkins and Damascus Virginia. First up is the Settlers Museum near Atkins. This is a must see it is a preserved 1890’s farmstead still on 67 of the orginal 275 acres it was in 1897. The buildings have been preserved but not restored so it is in an amazing state as it was then. There are a dozen or more buildings with many farm implements and tools to see and the house is completely furnished as it was then. I took some pictures of the grounds and inside the house but left out a lot so you can have some surprises when you visit.

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1890’s farmhouse they built the frame house around the log cabin they first lived in

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you can drive or walk less than a mile from the visitors center to the farmstead its a beautiful walk when the dogwoods are blooming

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every room is wonderfully furnished I only took a pic of a few

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The Appalachian Trail runs by the grounds next to the 1894 school which allowed to hike a 5.6 mile section I missed and meet hikers resting at the schoolhouse which was cool.

After that was a visit to the old Alvarado station on the virginia creeper trail and some pics of old churches I saw on the way.

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methodist church outside marion virginia

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side view to show bell tower

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presbyterian church 7 mile ford

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Cavalry Soldiers, Mermaids, Possums and Crafts


Today was an interesting day full of random and unexpected sights. I went outside on the porch to have a smoke and greet the sunrise and saw there was a dead possum on the lawn unexpected and not cool, then was buzzed by a drone someone was flying, unexpected but kind of cool. Came back in to check facebook and saw The Exchange Place in Kingsport TN which is a kind of living history pioneer village was having a spring fair so I decided to see that. It was an unexpected and pretty awesome pleasure. They had the following things and more:

Cavalry Soldiers:

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There were some really talented crafters and artists there. I loved the metal lawn decorations made from repurposed metal.

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I especially liked the detail on the metal rose blooms. I also liked the man who made chairs, tables, and hanging baskets from old wooden pallets, reduce reuse right.

Here is a pic of one of the many pioneer cabins on the property, a donkey who was not impressed by the goings on, an old outdoor brick oven, a mermaid in a chair and a cool piece of pottery from the pottery making lady.

The coolest name for an artist goes to the lady who made wind chimes her business was called harmonic journeys cool name.

So for a day with no plans I saw a possum (dead) a donkey (alive but uninspired) a drone flying, a mermaid, cavalry soldiers riding, pioneer buildings, a giant metal chicken, met some cool people and all that before 5pm. Well that was Saturday -Sunday has some big shoes to fill to top that.

Haunting Pea Ridge Battlefield


Pea Ridge Battlefield in the mountains of Arkansas is a place haunted and hallowed by both the Civil War battle that took place there in March of 1861 and the Trail of Tears the path of suffering that eastern nations of Native Americans walked when forcibly removed from their lands east of the Mississippi which crosses through the park. It seems especially so if you visit when their is a veil of mist and rain cloaking the woods and fields. When touring the park put aside politics and sides and put yourself in the place of the men, Americans on both sides, who displayed the courage and devotion that we would use to form a nation and save Europe from tyrants in the two world wars. Put yourself in the place of men, boys really who for most of them were farther away from home and family  than they had ever been before. Marching through steep, wooded, tangled, dark mountains. Imagine the temperature is well below freezing there is a blizzard blowing. The Confederate army to speed movement allowed their soldiers only arms ammunition and one blanket. There sit the boys and soldiers far from home, cold, hungry, worn out from marching to a place where awaits another group of boy soldiers just as hungry cold and lonely who will be doing their best to kill them the next day. It will be a chaotic messy confusion of a battle where 26000 men will come together in a fight that will 3000 wounded or dead. 2 Confederate leaders will be killed increasing the confusion caused by muskets firing, dense terrain limiting vision and movement, cannons roaring, rebel yells, and Indian war cries. The rebels had a brigade of tribal warriors from the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.

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Elkhorn Tavern–a lot of history the elk antlers mounted on the roof  that gave the hotel its name are long gone. It served as a way station on the trail of tears march. Indicative of the confusion of the civil war battle is that the tavern served as hospital and headquarters for both Confederate and Union armies during the battle.

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Example of the dense woods the armies marched through and fought in. Look close and you can  see two little white tail deer grazing peacefully.

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Some confederate troops took shelter in the rocks. They found out they had made a terrible mistake when artillery opened up and exploding shells and rock shards took a terrible toll.

Below are rows of cannons that show different artillery positions through the battlefield. Imagine braves on ponies, and lines of young men lining up in neat rows to charge directly into the dreadful and deadly fire coming from the cannons or from hundreds of muskets firing at less than a hundred yards at you and trying to capture those guns.

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This little rutted depression is a part of the Trail of Tears taken by so many eastern Native Americans after being forced from their lands. The whole sad treatment and broken promises of our government toward Native Americans peoples past and present should be a source of national shame.

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One of my favorite signs to see driving: Let the adventure begin!

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Ozark Mountain Lake where I campe

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Ozark Mountain Scene

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Picnic spot for lunch

 

Double Spring Community founded late 1700’s


The following few pics are from a scouting trip and serve as introduction to a small little community in the mountains of Tennessee with a lot of history. Stay tuned for some more pics as I explore the area and learn more of its history.

The double springs for which the community was named are still there near the John Jones house one of the old pioneer families. The double springs were used by Cherokee and other Native Americans and used against them when Colonel William Christian camped there using the springs as his base in a campaign against the Cherokee who allied with the British during the American Revolution October 1-4 1776. He also made one of the first peace treaties between the Cherokee and settlers on the Long Island of the Huston River nearby in Tennessee.  He went on to found with his wife Ft William which protected Louisville KY from Native American raids and in 1785 settled on land awarded for his service in the Revolution He only enjoyed his land for a year before being killed in action against the Wabash Indians in 1786. Across from his campsite is the Double Spring Missionary Baptist Church founded in 1786 to serve the settlers already living there in this very old community just a few miles from my house. Below is a picture of the church with its unique bell tower.

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Following are two scenes one of a ranch and a second of a small farm little changed from pioneer days.

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Ft Robinson Nebraska to Salina Kansas


Day 3 Rambling:  Below are scenes from a beautiful morning spent at Ft Robinson State Park and Chadron State Park in Northwest Nebraska:

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC The scenery at Ft Robinson is as wonderful as the people. Plains full of antelope rolling hills, buttes, hidden canyons, and clear blue lakes. Buffalo and long horn cattle roam the open range.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCTexas Longhorn cattle are impressive. Tough looking even without the big horns. Those were men back in the day who drove herds numbering in the hundreds over 1000 miles up from Texas to Montana. Ft Robinson sits along the Texas Cattle Trail where so many passed by and a few never returned. The last pic of the monument is the grave site of First LT. Levi Robinson who gave his life during the Indian Wars. Since his portrait hung in the room where I stayed that night I thought it only fitting he gives us all a reminder that freedom isn’t free. Take a moment to thank a vet and pray for our servicemen and women.

SONY DSC SONY DSC View from the top of the ridgeline at Chadron State Park looking toward the black hills. Ft Robinson and Chadron are 2 of the nicest state parks I have visited! I loved the carving of the cross inside the heart shaped piece of wood. A great reminder it wasn’t nails that held Christ to the cross but His love for us.  Pay a visit to these 2 state parks. Both feature beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, hiking and at Ft Chadron their our wagon rides and many fun activities if you have kids along and what a great opportunity to combine a lesson in history and natural beauty.

SONY DSCThe Platte River Nebraska! Following the Platte River takes you back in time. Along the Platte were branches of the Oregon, Mormon, Pony Express, and Texas Cattle Drive Trail. It is as if the whole history, myth, and legends of the west have been brought together in one place. Read any fiction or non fiction accounts of the old west and the rivers of Nebraska are found there. The Platte, the Canadian, The Broad French.  SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Above are pictures representative of so many of the small towns of Nebraska and Kansas. I don’t know how old the buildings in the 1st pic are but we can guess by how long ago you could get a coke of 5 cents. It was taken in Boyse Nebraska. The last 2 were taken in Herndon Kansas just a few miles south of the Nebraska line. It was one of those moments of odd serendipidity I love to find on my travels. The town shares my last name and the name of the church is Immanuel Baptist which shares the name of the church I am a member of in Havre Montana. How cool is that.

SONY DSC This picture was taken in southern Nebraska but I thought it was a picture that symbolized the importance of farming to Kansas/Nebraska, the USA, and the World. The Great Plains are truly the breadbasket of the World.

And last but not least a picture of the teepee I stayed in on the Saline River (another river of history think of all the history those waters have seen flow by) It was so awesome to think of a boy born in Florida who finds himself in the wild and wonderful land of Montana for so long and then one day camping under the stars in a teepee in Kansas. It was like being transported back in time, a moment one remembers as breathless, historic, and timeless.

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Exploring the Frontier–Havre MT to Miles City Montana


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A beautiful sunrise in Chinook Montana to start my exploration. Everyday of the journey was amazing and everyday started with something special. This beautiful sunrise the 1st day, the bald eagle flying up from the roadside on the second day, and something awesome each day. The journey covered 3,275 miles and 12 states. It was a journey to find myself, my faith, and my country and share the spectacular beauty and people of America with my followers in the USA and around the world. Also I hope to inspire people to overcome fear and misconceptions and follow their dreams where ever they lead you. To many of us avoid doing what we want or need because of anxiety and fear. Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest most challenging fears we must overcome in life. Follow my story and may it inspire you to follow your own path no matter what the challenges. Open your hearts and minds for new adventures and experiences and follow along and be inspired to create your own adventures.

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The above scenes are from the James Kipp recreation area where the mighty Missouri River flows through the Charles M Russell Wildlife Refuge in the Missouri Breaks area of Montana. Before the bridge over the Missouri was constructed in the middle of the last century ferries where the only way to cross the Missouri. They were dependable providing the water wasn’t to low, to high, or frozen over lol. James Kipp was a fur trader and steam boat captain born in 1788 in Montreal. He explored this area of Montana in the 1820’s and established in 1831 FT Piegan on the Marias River to trade with the Piegan or Blackfeet Indians in the region. I thought it was awesome for this modern day explorer to stop and have breakfast at the site where a pioneering explorer camped.  Just south of this area along the Musselshell River was also Ft Musselshell. A short lived fur trading fort where Sioux and Assiboine Warriors would often take shots at unwary whites. SONY DSC SONY DSC  One of the many old pioneer homes one can discover throughout the west. A symbol both of the harsh conditions facing the early pioneers and of the struggle of many frontier areas to maintain their populations in modern times. SONY DSC The historic Garfield Motel in Jordan Montana. Jordan is the most isolated county seat in America. The county has a population of around 1,200 which is nearly 3 times the size of neighboring Petroleum County MT with a population of 412. If you find yourself in Jordan stop at the Jordan Coffee and Gift shop. Friendly people good coffee in all varieties. Its one of the reasons I love Montana. Where else can a sophisticated lady by herself a chai tea while browsing the latest styles of concealed carry hand bags, in newest Aztec motif 🙂  Good advice for life at a sign on this store. Picture of a handgun with the words “Stay calm and carry” below it. Reminds me of the old pioneer saying: “Trust God but keep your powder dry” SONY DSC SONY DSC These two pics are the Angela Post office still in business and an abandoned early 1900s church at Angela Montana. When its 100s of miles to the next community of any size the post offices, churches, country stores, and bars become the center of many of these small frontier communities their life lines to connect to each other and the world.SONY DSC I love that the Cohagen Montana Bar, only one of two buildings in Cohagen has a squirt soda sign as its marquee. It also has a payphone across the street. It is many long miles to any where and any one else I wonder if you are stuck out their and need to use the payphone who do you call?SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC The first photo in this series is the Yellowstone River as it flows through Miles City Montana. The Yellowstone is the longest free flowing river (undammed) in America. The horses are grazing behind the Range Riders Museum in Miles City. Well worth the stop the museum has an amazing collection of frontier buildings, pioneer objects, Native American Artifacts, and a stunning collection of 400 historic firearms. The last 2 photos are from my campsite along the banks of the Tonque River which flows into the Yellowstone River at Miles City.

Its been said that generally at the end of your life you will regret far more the things you didn’t do in life then the things you did. This has been the case in my life, but I decided that before I got to old to have adventures I was going to seize the days and have adventures and go exploring and overcome my fears and find my faith and when I am old at the end of my days I will have at least great stories to tell. Hope everyone enjoys this and has fun following my adventures.