Between September 22nd - Oct 7th, I had the privilege of assisting with the Overmountain Victory March that starts in Abingdon, VA and ends at Kings Mountain National Battlefield in SC. The March commemorates the 330 mile route that the Scotch-Irish mountaineers took to engage the loyalist army led by Major Patrick Ferguson at Kings Mountain. The route is designated as a National Historic Trail currently segmented together with 80 miles of hiking trails.

Each weekday during the March, a group of volunteer Revolutionary War reenactors would tell the story of the Overmountain Men’s journey and victory. The cast of characters who acted out this important part of American History were just awesome. Dressed in authentic garb, with gun powder horns around their necks, and antler knives on their hips, these men definitely got the attention of the students that came out each day. (You can see some of their pics on my facebook page.)

This year, the March organizers asked me to come out to select venues and help encourage the kids to go hiking on the Overmountain Victory Trail and other local paths. I LOVE getting kids excited about the trail! When I told the 4th grade students about all the animals you can see and the adventures that you can have in the woods, they were all ready to set out with their families and start exploring.

However, the March also served as a positive personal reminder that we are fortunate, today, to hike because we want to and not because we have to. History is filled with stories of people covering large tracts of land on foot. The past 100 years mark a transition where people no longer have to walk out of necessity, but can now chose to do so simply for pleasure. The story of America is riddled with tales of long-distance hiking, including the Underground Railroad, Lewis and Clark, the Trail of Tears, the Overmountain Men, and many, many others.

It is important to go hiking because it connects us with our ancestors. It also reveals historic places and stories. The land always has a tale to tell if we are willing to listen. In all my hiking and travels, I doubt that I have ever stood in a place, where someone else has not passed. And that thought is often as humbling as the mountains that surround me.