On June 6, in 90-degree weather, 15 sweating and exhausted bicycle riders arrived at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park in Meigs County.
Their journey had begun that morning at the Red Clay State Park and will end in Oklahoma.
These young riders are descendants of the Cherokee Nation which was forced to leave in 1838. They are remembering their ancestors by traveling as close as possible what is now “The Trail of Tears.”
Jack Baker, a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, met them at the park. Baker told them it was here at Blythe’s Ferry 9,000 of their ancestors said “Good-bye” to their homelands. After suffering inhumane treatment in roundup forts, nine detachments camped here, waiting for many days to be ferried across the river.
The young riders at least experienced the same weather conditions as their ancestors at their departure since it was so hot and dry the ferry could not operate.
At the Visitors Center, the young Cherokees were refreshed with RC Colas and Moon Pies.
At the ferry landing, Billy Ogle was waiting in his pontoon boat to set them across the river. They waved good-bye with a better understanding and closer feelings for their ancestors.
To follow them on their journey, go to Web sit: remembertheremoval.org.