Trans America Trail Journal Day 1a

Aug 22, 2013 View Comments by

TAT Journal Day 1aAs the miles click down closer to the starting point in Tellico Plains I feel the excitement and anxiety that comes with exploring a new place. I do not get this feeling when I ride on pavement, but the extra challenges associated with riding off road and in remote locations come with a little more angst. I try to push visions of Deliverance out of my head as I roll up to the starting point. I have no idea what to expect. What will the first road conditions be? How long before I am picking up the bike for the first time?

Then to my surprise the route begins—and—it’s more pavement. Not much different than the past 90 minutes I spent getting here. It’s simply another road. A little while later the tires finally have something to dig into, but my excitement is soon over as I hit my first dead end. It looks like it may be a road, but a local resident has turned it into their own parking lot and there is simply no way around. Let the rerouting begin.

I spend the better part of the morning looking for an alternate route around a large lake. Not that I need one, it just seems fun and it is enjoyable to ride along. I manage to find some more narrow hard pack dirt surfaces lined with trees that practically touch overhead. I appreciate their shade.

After some exploring, I have to accept that there really is only one way around and I head back for the bridge. Up ahead is a sign for Blythe’s Ferry, Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Rerouting by Choice.

I head down the alternate route for a visit and immediately wish the Ferry was still running to take me to the other side. The original owner, William Blythe, was a mixed-ancestry Native American with both European and Cherokee antecedents. In return for signing the treaty of 1819 he was awarded a 640-acre reservation at the Hiwassee River where he ran the ferry. The Cherokee Memorial is a list of the 2,537 households and family members from the 1835 census taken in preparation for the removal. The Memorial is an honor, but also a sad reminder of those who died and cried during a dark time in U.S. history.

To be continued . . .


To read the previous Trans America Trail episode, click here.

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About the author

I am an introvert posing as an extrovert. I love travel in all forms, but prefer 2-wheels. I created AdventureHermit as a way to share my adventures and inspire others to find joy through discovery; writing for RoadRUNNER is a dream come true!