THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING OF 1999
The answer, as 52-some odd folks can readily attest to, is that the Trail can be seen disappearing well into the horizon. We have gathered again, we have trekked the trails that crisscross the beautiful greenery, the blue-tinted mountains, the rushing rivers, that make up MohicanLand. We have had, for the SECOND time, a GREAT Mohican Gathering. All the camaraderie, the joking, the poking & retorts ... all the shared love of a movie and time ... all the creative juices that we can proudly say makes our Board a most very special place ... the joy, the scenery, the calm, the music, the wonderful personalities ... the totally incongruous mix of people that SOMEHOW fits together to make it all click ... it all came together a second time, and it worked! There is a magic about these Gatherings that comes from within each and every individual that attends. That�s what truly makes it all viable. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you all for making the 1999 Great Mohican Gathering such a grand success ...
It was nearly a year in the making. Almost immediately, following the �98 event, the planning began. The Gathering is NOT a one man, or woman, show. Ilse Maan, our Dutch Trader, took on the work of designing & producing a unique T-shirt to help commemorate the event. Jo Tishler, a hold over from last year�s 3 Little Piggies, teamed with a fourth, Sarah Zentner, to create a beautiful & informative Program Guide to help to orient everyone to the proceedings. The Mighty Mohican Mama, Marcia Meara, set up our splendid Chimney Rock deal, including the infamous Bunkhouse, put together the welcome packets, and handled the organizing of the raffles, among other things. We heartily thank you all for making our job so much easier. It wouldn�t have happened without you. Then, of course, there�s Soldier #2, Eric Hurley, who each year blesses the event with his bubbling personality, good-will, and on the scene perspective of the filming at almost every location that we visit, John Evans with his collection of props from the film, Susan Houck with her Celtic music, John Harkins with his longhunter outfit, Emily McGowan with her 35mm preview of LOTM - donated for future Gatherings - Adrienne Brown and her magnificently sculpted Hawkeye doll ... so many things brought to display or donated to raffle. And then, there�s each & every person who attends, bringing their own special charms & personality, that all blend together to create that magic ... Yes, it always comes back to those who come ... that is, indeed, what it is all about!
Thursday, June 10 ... an overcast & muggy day. Inspired by a story, an historical event, a board, an image, a film ... folks from all around the globe - this breed apart - began to converge on the tiny town of Chimney Rock, a mere speck in the vast expanses of MohicanLand. The aura of The Last of the Mohicans was strong enough to bring them here. Some came by to set up the Bunkhouse, the rustic little hole-in-the-wall that served as a home away from home for some, a meeting place for all. Some came to add to the displays being laid out on the center table. Miss Marcia was there for some down-home fudge making. Kate & MMMMarcia were there to do battle over Hawkeye. Some dropped by just to say hello to their old & future friends. It was exciting. An anxious & gleeful cast of characters was assembling to cast the dice and find out what the outcome of 3 days of adventure in the wilderness would be ...
19 brave, but sleepy, souls stood there in the pre-dawn darkness awaiting the rays of orange to come up over the mountains. Silhouetted against the sky, quietly chatting, they waited for the show Mother Nature had prepared! Slowly, the sky brightened. Black turned to gray ... gradually color, the reddish glow of the sun, the deep blue of the mountains, began to overcome the darkness. Though cloudy, enough sun managed to paint the sky to make the moment worthwhile. The fog was densely nestled in the mountainous folds of earth before us. We could hear the LOTM theme in our minds ... we stood there .. the Gathering had begun ... someone, everyone, needed coffee ... on to Louise's for breakfast!
Fellow Gatherers assembled in the rock building that served as our canteen this morning. We ate and then it was on to Linville Falls. Though I'd been there countless times before, never had the primeval look of this forest struck me as it had this day. It must have been the gloomy mist. One could easily see why Michael Mann had chosen this place for his George Road Ambush. We saw the falls area where parts of Canoes was filmed and we walked at the scene of The Escort.
After lunch, again at Louise's Rock House, we drove to the eastern side of the Gorge to climb the heights of Table Rock Mountain. At the Top of the World, The Final Scene, we sat. But, WAS this the top of the world!?! Or, had we entered heaven? The fog was so thick it could be seen between you and the person you were talking to. It brought a whole new feeling to this place. No longer green and sunny with spectacular vistas in all directions. Now, it was an isolated little rock outcropping amidst the vast heavens. It had a magic all its own.
We moved on to Lake James for the site of Lake George & Fort William Henry. The sky cleared. Eric Hurley took us all around the area and pointed out where the mighty fort had once guarded the lake. He showed us the locations of the French batteries and of their camp, he showed us where the canoes were sitting, and where Magua & Montcalm had their lakeside talk in the night ... It was an exhausting day. For the stalwart folks who spent the ENTIRE day together, it had lasted from about 3AM till well past 10 at night, with some tough trails traversed in between. About 8PM, a camera crew from a local TV station entered the Bunkhouse to interview Gatherers as to their reasons for coming all this way. They found one lone person dancing to The Gael there at the Bunkhouse! Shortly after, a few more people arrived. The segment did make it to TV at 11 that night ... It was on to greet the tired as they returned for a night's sleep.
Ah, The River Walk ... private property still, we managed to find a way to be invited to see these gorgeous waterfalls. Bridal Veil, High, & Triple Falls were all thoroughly explored, completely enjoyed ... We picnicked at a pavilion overlooking Triple Falls.
Then, it was on to nearby DuPont State Forest for a look at Hooker Falls, part of the Canoes sequence. There, Soldier #2 completely described the filming sequence and demonstrated the loading & firing of an English Brown Bess musket. The day was a special one, spent in the midst of torrential running water. The sun was out, we were able to go behind the falls at Bridal Veil, climb the side of Triple - even locating the drilled finger holes in the rock to assist the movie's cast in the undertaking - and imagine Hawkeye, Chingachgook, & Uncas running up the slope next to High as Clannad's I Will Find You rose mystically in the background ... Before we knew it, hours had gone by. It was time to move on ...
In The Evening ... The Film
THE movie awaited! A comfortable & cozy little theater in an old hotel's ballroom made this a very special viewing of The Last of the Mohicans. Many ate pizza & hot dogs, drank beer, wine or soft drinks. It was a relaxing hour spent in the cool of the theatre, after hot hiking, with the anticipation of the upcoming screening building by the minute. No spliced in backwards reels this time, the movie proceeded flawlessly on the big screen before us. What a treat to enjoy this film in the presence of fellow sufferers of Mohican Mania! A round of applause!
Just before the showing, a long distance phone call, all the way from New Mexico, beckoned ... it was Ros, Magua's own, calling to say, "Hi," and be a little part of it. Ros, we love you!
The Master of Life IS good!
Beginning with a delicious breakfast - two varieties of egg omelets, home fries, sausage, bacon, & ham, biscuits & gravy, grits, fruit - served up by Chef Charlie of The Old Rock Cafe, to whom I had the distinction of ignominiously saying, "You're a good man!" ... Only to find out later, on the shuttle bus to the Sky Lounge elevator, that Charlie was a woman! It ain't easy being me! ... The final day had gotten underway!
Approaching the pavilion in the meadows there at Chimney Rock Park, there was a pleasantly eerie feeling of this having happened only a day before. It was the same kind of day as our visit to the park at the '98 Gathering. T-shirts, made by Ilse, being worn, the sun shining brightly, warm, blue skies, the crunch of the gravel beneath your steps ... It was a time to miss, warmly, Chris & Carol & Ros & Dar & Patty & Doug & Natasha & Myrrh & Jay & Sherry and all those who had shared this with us last year but couldn't be there now.
After a talk from park spokesman, Kent Reed, we made our way, via shuttle & elevator, to the Sky Lounge. Here, for the first time, Gatherers had the opportunity to view, up close, one of Eric Schweig's Adoption Masks ... the very one which was to be raffled off that night!
So, we hiked & hiked, cooled off & ate by the pools at Hickory Nut Falls, enjoyed the vistas, the reenactments, each other ... It was a good time up there on The Cliffs. Some, though, had thoughts of meeting Eric Schweig on their minds ... Time to shower & prepare for dinner!
In The Evening ... The Raffle
Eric arrived just before dinner, right on schedule, accompanied by Elaine, Ilse, 6 of our kids, & his friend Dee. We talked and ate, and after supper he graciously made himself available to each & every Gatherer. Handshakes, photos, autographs ... we shared some laughs. The two Erics were re-acquainted, having last seen each other in the cave Under The Falls! It was a good time, surely to be remembered by all, and Eric's subsequent phone call thanking us, and all of you, for a good time, seems to indicate that he will as well!
Back to the Bunkhouse ... the raffle of donated items was handled by Nicholas and, with great humor, by Mary. Everyone seemed quite pleased with their winnings. Then ... the big one. Time to raffle off the Mask Eric had arranged to be awarded as the grand prize. First, though, as the suspense built, Eric fielded questions about his carving & about this mask from everyone. The room finally fell silent. Eric reached into the box containing the tickets and shuffled them around a bit ... he pulled one out. Excitement abounded. "Adrienne Brown," was called! There was a winner! A very HAPPY winner!
Happy, HAPPY Trails! ... Rich/Mohican Press
Mary Bjork* - Kathie Branson* - Adrienne Brown - Nicholas Brown - Sharon Cagle* - Caitlin Capps* - Jeff Capps - Cherri Carwile - Don Carwile - Gayle Clark - Glen Daniel* - Lynn Daniel* - Donna Deslauriers* - Claudia Dvorak - Woody Dvorak - John Evans* - Kelli Evans* - Linda Evans* - Elaine Federici* - Rich Federici* - John Harkins* - Susan Houck* - Jenifer Huey - Eric Hurley* - Karen Kohles* - Patty Kuijpers - Judy Madaris - Ilse Mann* - Rosemarie Masotti - Emily McGowan* - Kevin McGowan* - Marcia Meara* - Sarah Melcher - Jack Minchey - Stacia Minchey - Sandy Noykoff - Alma Parrish - Penny Parrish - Kate Penman - Darla Purcell - Dave Purcell - Peggie Rodgers - Ayesha Rognlie - Collin Rognlie - Cecelia Scott - Gwen Shipley - Len Shipley - Diana Strickland - Jo Tishler* - Ann Weldon - Mark Zentner - Sarah Zentner
Honorary '99 Gatherers: Ros Haddon* - Eric Schweig
* Denotes also a '98 Gatherer
Review other past years' Gatherings at
Copyright 1999 by Ronald Federici
All rights reserved.
Last Update: 6/24/2006