The GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING OF 2000...
Day One ...
So, we gathered. Most folks began congregating in the vicinity of Bear Den Campground, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, late Thursday afternoon ... there were some who couldn't make it till late Friday, or early Saturday, and so joined up with us at Biltmore Estate in Asheville. It was great to see the early arrivals. Great to have a chance to once again say a warm hello as we exchanged hugs. There's a magical sense of anticipation as these things come together ... a journey into MohicanLand comes to life! No WWWBoard this; it's the real thing! Real people with real faces, bearing real smiles ... real voices ... real sites, even a REAL Trading Post!
Rich plays tour guide at Linville Falls
It was a bizarre beginning ... for us ... Two days before The Gathering was to begin, hackers struck the Web Site rendering the Board useless. No time to worry or fix ... for a baby was soon to enter the world. At 4AM on the 22nd, the day BEFORE the Gathering was to begin, Elaine gave birth to a baby boy, Michael Andre, thus dashing her hopes of attending the bash at Biltmore. Amidst the frustration & anger brought on by Internet terrorism, intermingled with the sheer euphoria of having brought a new spirit into the world, overcome with the punchiness derived from sleep deprivation, all joining the usual pre-Gathering anxiety & jitters, I sped along the backwoods roads of western North Carolina ... desperately racing dawn's approach to the Greenknob on Friday morning. Ever so slightly, the eastern horizon was beginning to glow as I pulled into the parking area where only Sarah & Mark Zentner had yet arrived. It was perhaps 5:40AM, barely light enough to see one another ... the 2000 Gathering was underway. Came to find that we weren't the only ones to experience setbacks prior to the beginning. Gatherer after Gatherer told their tale of misstep & mishap as they prepared or were en route. The sun rose. The masterpiece was painted in the morning sky. We prepared to leave. Alas, the mayhem continued. Miss Marcia had locked the keys in her rented pick-up!
Here again, On Top Of The World ... for a third time!
Front Row (kneeling or sitting): Ros, Kate, Cecelia, Jay, Dan, Ilse, Connie
Second Row (kneeling): Jo T., Karen K., Marcia, Teri, Stan, Dar, John H., Nancy.
Standing (L - R): Adrienne, Barbara, Ann, Tabitha, Stephanie, Amanda, Mark Z., Bill M., Sarah, Clabert, Jayne, Karen W., Donna, Martha, Mary B., Kathleen, Diana, Ariana, Mark W., Melody, Kathie, Sandy, Summer, Collin, Bertha, Ayesha, Nathan, Debbie Ho, Vince, Dana, Penny, Chris, Alma, Adele
And so, we ate a hearty breakfast at Louise's Famous Rock House
Restaurant, toured Linville Falls, returned to Louise's, where ONE poor lass had
to serve the lot of us!!! ... drove to Table Rock Mountain, on the far side of
Linville Gorge ... up the winding & bumpy & LONG dirt road ... and were
treated to the French Trader's lesson on 1757 attire, including to the delight
of our loin-clothed pre-occupied female Board members,
a peek at the real thing.
Clabert then led us along the trail, pointing out the vegetation that the
woodsman would find essential to survival in the wilderness. The air was clear;
the view spectacular. We reached the location. There's something about this
place ... something about the ground where Chingachgook stood to offer prayer to
his son ... that invariably lends emotion to those that reach its lofty height.
no different this time.
And then, Soldier #2, posed the question, "I once promised that I'd never ask another woman to marry me. So, I'll ask you to ask me to marry you."
Sharon would have no part in THAT proposal, and so, on one knee, Eric broke his vow by beginning another! Congratulations Eric & Sharon!
Soldier #2 explains the filming at the Canoe Launch
We left "the place" and drove the 13 miles of dirt road down the mountain. Well, most of us did. A rock kicked up. It took out an oil pan. An engine seized. Ros' rental car was the unlucky victim. We gassed up & drank soft drinks to cool off. Those with any energy left continued on to the shores of Lake James, where once had stood, in all its short-lived glory, Fort William Henry. Darkness fell upon us. We had spent all the daylight Nature would afford us at Linville Gorge. I don't know, every year I'm exhausted after this day ... yet, I can't imagine going a Gathering without it ....
Day Two ...
Spanning the Bridge!
The Biltmore Estate! What a place to classily sandwich between two rigorous days of mountain hiking. Michael Bigham, locations manager for Mohicans, was on hand for the two hour morning tour of the ground's locations, as well as for the one hour follow-up seminar. He spoke candidly of people & events & the location finding process ... coupled with Gina & Travis' (our Biltmore guides) Mohicans experiences, we had quite a triumvirate of memories ... Who will ever forget Travis' hilarious tale of turning to mush over the prospect, and reality, of meeting Daniel Day-Lewis?? We toured the Bass Pond, viewing the beautiful reflection ... lining the Bridge as mere specks from one end to another for a photo taken by Michael Bigham. It was a remarkable feeling, just how these Gatherings had grown! We saw the fields that served as Cadre drilling grounds. We entered Albany, in the guise of the Biltmore Guest Cottage & had a taste of tea with Alice, Cora & Duncan in the field nearby. And, perhaps best of all, we traveled down the narrow path, trail blazed by a Mohicans crew in 1991, now known as The Mohican Road. It led us to a quiet little grove bedded with a distinctive grass ... so distinctive that Michael Mann actually ordered platforms to be built above it for walkways, so that when the actual filming occurred it would be in its pristine shape. We were at The Burial Ground!
Donna, Eric, Ilse, Rich, Bill R., Betty, Marcia & Adele at Biltmore Estate
Following our tour, we dined in style ... unusual, to say the least, at a Mohican Gathering, at Deer Park restaurant. Then, we broke off into smaller groups to wonder at the Mansion, browse the Gardens, partake of spirits in the Winery, enjoy a cool ice cream at the Stables. Then, the Movie ... The Last of the Mohicans on the big screen. We packed that little theater ... it was there, in the cool, dark of the movie house, that this particular group of Gatherers ... more than half of whom had never been here for one ... truly bonded. You could see it; you could hear it; you could feel it. We had done it ... again!
Day Three ...
The Gathering Grows ...
3 Time Gatherers!
L - R, Front: Susan Houck, Eric Hurley, Sharon Cagle, Jo Tishler, Karen Kohles
Back: Rich Federici, John Harkins, John Evans, Linda Evans, Kelli Evans, Ilse Maan, Donna Deslauriers, Kathie Branson, Mary Bjork, Caitlin Capps, Marcia Meara
Missing from photo: Elaine Federici
At the First!
L - R, Front: Susan, Eric, Sharon, Jo, Karen, Ros Haddon
Back: Dar Burns, John H., John E., Linda, Kelli, Ilse, Donna, Kathie, Mary, Caitlin, Marcia, Rich
Missing from photo: Elaine, Jay Propst
L - R, Front: Adrienne Brown, Kate Penman, Susan, Eric, Sharon, Jo, Karen, Mark Zentner, Sarah Zentner, Sandy Noykoff, Ayesha Rognlie, Ros
Back: Cecelia Scott, Diana Strickland, Dar, Dave Purcel, John H., Darla Purcel, John E., Len Shipley, Kelli, Gwen Shipley, Ilse, Alma Parrish, Donna, Penny Parrish, Kathie, Mary, Collin Rognlie, Caitlin, Jeff Capps, Marcia, Rich
Missing from photo: Jay, Jenifer Huey, Linda
The 2000 Gathering!
L - R, Front (sitting or kneeling): Bill MacLeod, Melody Farfan, Ann Colby, Cecelia, Debbie Ho, Adrienne, Dar, Kathleen Broderick, Kate, Diana, Susan, Darla, Eric, Kelli, Sharon, Ilse, Ariana Farfan, Jo T., Donna, Karen K., Kathie, Mary B., Mark Z., Sarah, Caitlin, Bertha Boucher, Sandy, Mary Garland, Ayesha, Summer Rognlie, Ros, Rich, Stephanie McCulloch
Back (standing): John H., John E., Dana Steckler, Karen Williamson, Jo Sampson, Linda, Jayne Langan, Rob Kruys, Connie Scott, Dan Huffman, Betty Nichols, Barbara Doyle, Yolanda Huffman, Bill Rooks, Chris Cline, Dave, Nathan Whitney, Len, Mark Whitney, Gwen, Amanda Doyle, Vincent Kong, Alma, Tabitha Pate, Penny, Laura Egner, Christie Sylvester, Beth Pukanecz, Martha Boucher, Stan Golden, Nancy Michaelsen, Teri Golden, Collin, Marcia, Adele Grandon, Jeff, Clabert Menard
Missing from photo: Jay, Elaine, Barby Holder, Debra Holland, Jenifer, Karin McCormick, Candice Rease, Libby Rease, Stephanie Sampson, Jordan Strickland, & Barrett Taylor
Final Tally: 81 Gatherers, & Michael!
Our apologies for not being able to positively identify everyone in this photo (and MIA) ...
"Trapped" in a cave "under the falls" during a late
afternoon thunderstorm at Chimney Rock Park
Chimney Rock Park was seen as the climax of the filming ... it is the climax of The Gathering. We spend a full day ... eating three meals, under the "shadow" of these gigantic cliffs. We break bread, tell tales, see props, hike trails, view vistas, shop at the Sky Lounge, are treated to legends from Park personnel, re-enact some of the very best action, cool off in the pools & mini-falls at the top of THE falls ... and this year, got to dodge thunderstorms as we made our way on the return trip along the Skyline Trail ... At Right: Ayesha, Collin, Mary B., Donna, Sandy, Mark Z., Debbie Ho, Vince & Beth, among others, seek shelter from the storm ...
Sunday Evening ...
Barrett Taylor & Barby Holder ... Musicians Extraordinaire
Those at Bear Den would arrive late each night and some would linger outside their cabins to discuss the day's events or just shoot the breeze ... a little "brandy" thrown in. A complaint, or two, were lodged by others in the campground. And so, it was almost poetic justice when at 8PM on Sunday, the sound of the Scottish pipes cut through the mountain air. The closing ceremonies were under way! Barrett Taylor, on pipes, was joined by Barby Holder, on guitar, hammered dulcimer & vocals, for two hours of absolutely perfect music. All the while, we listened, we talked, we laughed, we shopped at the Trading Post, we looked over the items in the Raffle cabin, we enjoyed the moment & savored the three days we were now on the verge of concluding ... It was the perfect mood with which to prepare for the Raffles ... Ariel's Cabin was a huge success. Thank you, folks, for making it so! The general raffle was a blast ... the prizes were good, Mary, the MC, was as hilarious as ever (There IS something about Mary!), and Adele's Awards (the AAs??) were handed out with humor & taste. It was fun for all!
I've got to say, I know that last year was a thrilling conclusion to the Gathering for all of you. Me? I was a nervous wreck! This year, I fully enjoyed the closing, as I did the entire three days.
So it goes ... a mere re-telling of simple events. Where, then, is the magic? Surely not just in the hiking of the trails, the driving of the roads, that connect these places joined, unknowingly, by the theme of The Last of the Mohicans. Could it be in the film? Oh, without a doubt, seeing the classic on the big screen with all those rich, vibrant colors & minute details hardly discernible at home on our televisions, is an enriching experience, even with the blips & visual noise that accompany this ever-increasingly worn out copy of 35mm film. No, it's not that. It's not the music nor the raffle. It wasn't even, a year ago, the presence of one of the movie's stars. No, it's not Soldier #2, nor Rich & Elaine. It's not the stately mansion that is Biltmore. It's not Marcia, Kate, Jo or Sarah or any of the other folks who put this thing together. Now, ALL these things help, don't get me wrong, but The Gathering would be nothing if not for you ... the characters & lurkers of the Board. It's not, necessarily, all the big things ... they are there for anybody, anytime ... it is, without a doubt, all the LITTLE things ... the things you all bring to the table ... the things you have to be here for to truly appreciate!
So, to all Gatherers, a special "Thank You!" You did the unexpected and turned our mix of potential cliques & outsiders into one solid mass of joyous, fun loving, people ... The Great Mohican Gathering!
Oh, and did I mention? On Monday morning, as we were at the Bear Den office checking out? You guessed it! Miss Marcia locked the keys in the truck ... AGAIN!
|... [The Gathering] was probably the best-organized field conference I have been on, and as a geologist, I have been on many. I found the undercurrent of passion & spirit of volunteerism gave the entire group a positive energy that I find is rare these days. Some of that energy is still with me. It is not often now I have seen so much given from the heart, and I admire that --- you & your colleagues have done a lot of work to ensure that the rest of us had a great time and I thank you all for that ... Mary G.|
For another view, from the other half:
A SPIRITED GATHERING
For a complete listing of all 2000 Great Mohican Gatherers:
2000 GATHERING ROSTER
|... this group is very special. I mean, of all the reenactors we know, from all the different lists and all the different clubs, one is lucky to run into a few, at an event. But at OUR event, the whole family came together. What more could anyone ask for? ... Clabert|
~~~~ All photos by Mohican Press, Eric Hurley, and Sharon Cagle ~~~~
For Gatherings past:
THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING OF 1998
THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING OF 1999
2001 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING
2002 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING
2004 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING
2006 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING
2008 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING
The latest recaps:
THE GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING OF 2010