Our Davy Crockett Adventure: Born on a Mountain Top in Tennessee
C’mon everyone. Sing along! You know you can.
Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so’s he knew ev’ry tree, kilt him a b’ar when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!
In the summer of the 2014, the Geary-Damico family will go on the road with Davy Crockett. This is simultaneously a journey through David Crockett’s life (he preferred the name David) and a camping trip across the State of Tennessee. Crockett was a hunter, frontiersman, member of congress and defender of the Alamo. His motto was “Make sure you are right. Then go ahead.” David’s life story reflects what Arthur Schlesinger called “The Age of Jackson,” meaning the rise of democracy in America (and its many contradictions) during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. At first Crockett was a strong supporter of Jackson, the first non-elite president and the first president born west of the Appalachian Mountains. Later Crockett opposed Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and the land-grabbing profiteers of our nation’s expansion. It was a complicated time, but crucial for understanding this country.
Our trip also appeals to the imagination of our eight year old, much as it did the 50’s generation reared on Walt Disney’s Davy craze. This vacation blog will introduce readers to resources for all ages who wish to step into this period of history. For eight days my son and I will camp our way through David’s life, making use of our National Parks System and doing what David did: camping, hiking, swimming, riding horses, rock climbing, “hunting”, and boating down the rivers. This first part of our trip will begin where David was born, on the banks of the Nolichucky River (not “on a mountaintop”) near present day Limestone. He was also, by the way, not “born in Tennessee,” as Tennessee was not admitted to the Union until 1796, when David was ten and already an accomplished hunter. My wife will join us in Knoxville on Day eight as we continue to camp our way west using the Tennessee State Park system and follow David’s political career. We will conclude this first part of our trip in Memphis, where Crockett set out on the mighty Mississippi determined to join the Texas revolution.
The second part of our Davy Crockett adventure will take place in October when I have been invited to officiate at a wedding in San Antonio. Our family will arrive early enough to visit the Alamo, where David died, and the San Antonio Mission National Park.
As we did last summer during our Lewis and Clark Expedition, we will blog about our trip, where we went, what we did and how we learned. [This page, and the index below, will be regularly updated until complete]
In the meantime, c’mon everyone. Sing along! You know you can.
Day 3: King of the Wild Frontier – Climbing Clingman’s Dome at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Day 4: Hiking the Appalachian Trail and Exploring Cade’s Cove at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Day 5: Bouldering at Obed Wild and Scenic River National Recreation Area
Day 6: Becoming a Junior Ranger at Big South Fork National Recreation Area.
Day 7: White Water Rafting below the Cumberland Falls through the Daniel Boone National Forest
Day 8: Crossing the Cumberland Gap, greeting David’s gun, and meeting mom at the airport
Day 9: Fall Creek Falls State Park
Recommended Viewing: Where can anyone start today but with Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier. Originally a three-part television special, it was edited (and transformed) into a movie theater release, exponentially expanding the “Crockett Craze” of the 1950s. Easily available today as Davy Crockett: Two Movie Set, this classic film is paired with the completely apocryphal Davy Crockett and the River Pirates.