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I received your book and it is a delight. It's so meticulous. Thank you for this memento ... Madeleine Stowe

Guide book STILL Available - Order Now! 

Three and a half years have passed since we first created this site, intended merely as a modest outlet to promote & sell a self published guide book. Little by little, we added this & added that; the Board & the Musings; LOTM participant accounts & History; Photos & Trivia; Script & Cooper Excerpts. Before long, we found ourselves in the Interview business, the Trading business, the Art business, the 'Newspaper' business, & even the business of War. We added more & more satire & as the number of people utilizing the Board grew,  we mercilessly practiced the fine art of character assassination - all in good fun & purely for entertainment purposes. No matter what we added, there always seemed to be room for more - something else, something different, so long as it was something 'more.'

The Site grew, surpassing our own intentions & expectations in leaps & bounds. Somewhere, somehow, in the midst of its growth & evolution, MohicanLand was born. This was, perhaps, the most fascinating, unexpected development along the trail. It remains unexplainable & non-duplicable; unique, enigmatic; it defies  description to truly do it justice. A virtual community that virtually grew of its own frontier. It is from this the Gatherings began. 

There have been a lot of ups & too many downs along the way - yet, at the end of the day, the highs always seem to outweigh the lows. The Gatherings hold their own place among the highs ...

Gathering 2000 - it was, for me, most unusual & somewhat surreal. Resulting from events leading up to G2K, I have a different perspective on it all than most. I sort of felt like General Webb - (though I swear to not be at all so stupid as he!) . Mann-ing the fort whilst EVERYONE ELSE scouted the trails & went to the Ball, taking dispatches from Skyland Couriers (Sliced pizza okay? Saturday at the encampment. 6 PM sharp. See to it you're there.) - or Biltmore (One shuttle bus down -  he's using the horses.) - Even husbands searching for trail-bound wives (Talk to Duncan, Dana.) After months & months of planning, anticipation, doubts, & tempered excitement, the time had arrived.  However, as if to add a good measure of drama, so had a baby. Of course I KNEW I was going to have another child around the time of the Gathering - it wasn't exactly a surprise (well, not for us anyway); yet, I was presuming a post-gathering baby appearance. Why? As it were, I was obliged to forego the pleasure of hangin' myself with Friday's sunrise greeting along the Blue Ridge, the hike through Linville Falls, & having met Clabert-le francais trader previously, the undoubtedly entertaining period trek atop Table Rock that lay in store. Dammiiiit! Chimney Rock Park's Cliff Trails, too, were out of the question in light of my ... ahem ... 'delicate condition.' Other than Sunday evening's ceilidh & Trade War, which I presumed I'd pop in for, what was left for one in such a ... ahem ... 'delicate condition'?

Your wounded should try walkin' back to Albany.

But of course! Biltmore! THIS, I could do, even in my ... ahem ... 'delicate condition.' Yes, ... I could 'do lunch' at Biltmore. This would be a breeze; a casual 'stroll' along Mohican Road, tea in the poltroonless patroon's courtyard, 'Once, we were here' memoirs by Michael Bigham - and LUNCH. However ...

They do not live their lives 'by your leave.'

No, they sure don't. "They" - as in bairns - come when they wish to come. Even if on the heels of a George Road Ambush (they hacked their way into our wilderness, burying the board along the way) & on the eve of G2K. C'est la vie; cosi, cosi ...

In the end, it proved to be excellent timing. No 'doing lunch' at Biltmore, Dammiiiit. But there was still a Trade War to attend & little Michael Andre, having decided to arrive in time for the Gathering,  was heading west to Bear-Den-Ceilidh. What an adventcha, indeed! MY Gathering experience, as a first hand account, was to be an evening of introductions, re-acquaintances, music, auctions, raffles, trading, wampum, & brandy. This sounded pretty good to one who had already MISSED lunch. After all, I didn't want to be an invalid schoolgirl for long ...

 

~A Spirited Gathering~

~Trade with~

... the Dutch for silver. French and English want to buy with wampum and brandy.

The understatement of G2K - Le francais trader; Mister 'wampum & brandy' himself.

I have to admit I learned something very valuable from this Jacques-of-all-trades. Now, I hear he's been referred to as a 'rogue' by one Huggy Merchant, but this remains questionable. I don't know if he is actually a rogue or merely a skilled tradesman. What I DO know is this - the secret to le francais trader's successful trading can be found in that precious commodity called Peach Brandy.  Very sly, very 'le renard subtil' of him. While everyone was running & falling about the campground, expressing their gratitude for francais' generosity & the "sharing" of his Peach brandy, few noticed the relationship between how MUCH brandy they partook of & the goods they "procured."  I was there, I saw what it was. It was quite obvious; the greater the swig, the heavier the wampum purchase. Absolutely true. Well, the Dutch Trader & myself are not ones to pass up a challenge. Therefore, we have formed a Trade Alliance. Next time, Clabert, we shan't sleep.  We promise you a good run for your wampum - & we're sure to have plenty of Madiera & West Indies Rum on hand ... for hospitality's sake, of course.

Thank you, DT, for managing les affaires & keeping an eye on things.

 

I have seen the face of war before ... And almost as cruel is your indifference.

Now we come to Ariel's Cabin. No indifference to be found here, Miss. So much to be said about Miss Kate's efforts on behalf of little Ariel Boutette.  I'll return to this in a bit ...

Marcia's Raffles, Barby & Barrett's excellent contributions of bagpipes, hammered dulcimer, & voice; the Three Little Piggies Productions' beautifully printed Program Guide, Ann & Bill's costumes & entertainment, Dana the trekker, the people - familiar & newly acquainted, the impressions of the night, reactions to our little one, the sentiments expressed on the board; all these things I want to comment upon. And will ...

But first -

At the risk of ruining my hard earned reputation for cruel indifference, be forewarned; I have seriously nice, complimentary observations & thoughts to add. I apologize to any who become disillusioned & subsequently entertain the notion that cynicism is dead as a result of my forthcoming public expression of ... uhmmmm .... *sentiments* -  It's temporary, I assure you. (I'm SOOOO sorry, Doc M! I'll be done with it quickly!)

You can blame it all on the SUPER NICE people who attended their first Gathering this year.

There is a war going on .... It's a fight you ought to join.

 

Where to start? I suppose I could go on about apprehensions I felt prior to this particular Gathering, and the underlying sense of nervousness over the steadily increasing number of people coming; might even entertain discussing (or is it 'confessing'?) the possibility that I am, despite rumors to the contrary,  actually, possibly, questionably, but not yet verifiably ............... s-h-y ......... - which might explain why Rich's MP job description includes 'Sunday Updater Person' & 'Gathering E-mailman' & 'Sappy-Emotional-Wear-the -Ol-Heart-On-the-Sleeve- Mouthpiece Person.' (Pull yourself together, man!) Or I may catch myself admitting that, having already missed Friday, Saturday, & most of Sunday, and not having met ALL these newer people yet whom EVERYONE else had already met, I contemplated, focused on, practiced Alice-ian visual imagery, & crash coursed with Doctor Mary's 'Do It Yourself Mohicaan Meditation Methods for s-h-y People In Need of Excuses' for reasons NOT to go to Bear Den, rather than reasons TO go. (In the end, I failed, but I know it was only because I couldn't concentrate.) If I WERE to talk about these *feelings* - I might add how much I looked forward to seeing everyone again, or that there were some folks I REALLY wanted to meet,  & that I was glad just knowing so many people were doing something they really wanted to do. I'd probably express my sincere disappointment over a few who couldn't be here, knowing how much they wanted to be. Perhaps, just perhaps, I'd toss in a few "I miss you" messages. However, this is a public forum & since I don't do sickeningly sappy sugar-coated sentimental serenades, I won't say a word about any of it. It was but theoretical musings. (But if I did do 'sugar' - I'd say 'thank you, all' for being here & for being 'you.')

You are right, Mr. Poe. We do not understand what is happening here. 

 

We really don't understand it all ... yet. The first Gathering was a trip! It was strange to meet people whom we'd only known via the internet. It was much like a foray into unknown territory. No one really knew what to expect.  (Yeah - that was a bit nerve-wracking ... but fun!) A smaller group, entirely composed of folks we'd 'known' via our board. And to think they all came just because Soldier #2 was all dressed up with no place to go - with his Red Coat, of course. The behind the scenes apprehensions of that first year were relatively tame, especially in comparison to subsequent Gatherings. It was fun & it worked. It inspired *Special Editions* of the Courier & was worthy of 'Off the Beaten Trail' parody. I found a Stone Cold Hearted Sister in Carol, discussed Ros' engagement to Magua,  heard LOTM in tongues, saw women fainting & squinting over a guy who couldn't stand straight in a Huron camp, met Caitlin before Jeff did, saw koala bears wrapped around trees at Chimney Rock Park that turned out to be misbehavin' Gathering attendees (for shame!), met the infamous Sweetser gang from the Old West, heard Alaskan Bear Tales that were finally true courtesy of Chris, heard more lies & scandals originating from the Bunk House than seems possible in one weekend,  a murder attempt upon poor Dar, fights over first coffee rights, tattle-tales on who wore wrinkle cream, curlers & fluffy slippers, and so on ... It was great! Before long, a second Gathering was being planned. Wow! Where were we going with this? With the Web Site? With Mohican Press? And where were our reinforcements?

 

Thank you guys! I would probably not be the person I am today, if I hadn't stumbled on to this community.
- Ilse

 

Gathering II ... A guest & no rest; There was a war party.

 

Everyone remembers Gathering II, if only for the trials & tribulations it offered.  Questions arose which could only be answered once the weekend was underway. Could a second GMG be as pleasant as the first? (Yes, in retrospect, we found it to be so, despite certain 'trials & tribulations' that were played out behind closed doors.) How would we manage to maneuver 'ALL these people' about the sites & trails without losing someone? (Quite successfully. There were no MIAs or casualties along the road & all ambush attempts failed.) Would the Bunkhouse survive another GMG onslaught? (No. It held up for the weekend only to succumb to the post Gathering, wrong movie  directive; 'Buhhrrrn it.') Would Jo lose the moon boot & make it to Table Rock? (Yep!) Would the ladies behave themselves at Sunday's B-B-Q or would they scream "Uncas!!!" at Eric Schweig's arrival? (They behaved - a bit melodramatic in their restraint, though; barely looking up & acting as though they couldn't care less as the styro-foam plates beneath their noses were oh so interesting.) Would the invited guest make it in one piece? (Yes, despite the *obstacles* which developed along the way, he made it.) Would we consider yet another Gathering after this one? (No, yes, no, yes, no, ... yes.)

So many worries ... but, Gathering II turned out to be a great adventcha ... the beautiful hikes amidst a mist of stellar scenery,  the privileged Riverwalk excursion, the Mask Raffle & visit with Eric Schweig. Ahhhh - the behind the scenes ... "The Making of Gathering II" - Now, that would be an interesting tale!

Admittedly, there was quite a bit of stress involved in putting this particular shindig together, but the end results were justification for the means. There did arise unnecessary, unwarranted complications as outside forces took it upon themselves to lend us a helping hand in the itinerary department. It was interesting, as it was tiresome. For some unfathomable reason, there were people out there who really, really, really, really must have believed we needed relief from Gathering party planning. They tried so VERY hard to alleviate our 'burden' with heroic efforts to scale back the weekend's events for us.  Though we appreciated the concerns & were duly impressed with their resolve to 'help us out,' we felt confident the weekend's itinerary remained a manageable affair.  So we forged ahead ...

Okay - called the theatre & that was set; contacted the owners of the Riverwalk property & that was a go; CRP & Bunkhouse were 'in the bag' ... Linville Falls, Louise's, Table Rock ... all accounted for. Arranged for the Special Raffle of the Adoption Mask; the display at CRP; had the Tickets printed. So far, so good ... the only thing remaining was travel arrangements for an invited guest. Here's where we really noticed the immense concern for an overload, or 'too much of a good thing.' The kindness & sentiments expressed on our behalf were truly touching. I just KNOW their sense of it was that we really shouldn't be troubled with having to host or entertain or pick up a guest, what with such a busy weekend & all. 'Oh, it's no bother,' said we. 'No, really, we think it too much trouble for ya,' thought they. Hmmmmmmm ...

It was an interesting weekend, to be sure, & it was comical, in its own way. In the end, it all came off without any obvious hitch, but, as with every planned event or 'production,' there are headaches, uncertainties, interferences, & saboteurs a'plenty lurking in the background that need be dealt with or put down. A funny thing about Gathering II is that we had a mini re-enactment from LOTM that went something like this;

- You march to Fort William Henry.
We are to rendezvous in Albany & escort to the fort.

{Want to come to North Carolina for the Gathering?
Sure would! I can't wait to see CRP cliffs!}

- Dawn. At the encampment.
{June 11, 12, & 13th.}

- My letter ...
There was none!
I sent three men to Webb.
One called Magua arrived.

{Invited guest got 'booked' for Gathering weekend.}

- Might I inquire after the situation, sir, given that I've seen of the French engineering from the ridge above?
{Booked? Same weekend? Oh - not surprised. I've seen the engineering, too - always from above.}

- They have not the nature for war. Their Latinate voluptuousness combines with their Gallic laziness and the result ...
{Told you invited guest wouldn't be at the 'Mohican thang.'  It is a VICTORY! What can they do now?}

- Webb's not in Albany. He marched the 33rd to Fort Edward two days ago.
Webb's at Edward? Only twelve miles away! He could be here day after tomorrow.
{The gig's in SC? Only three hours away! You could be here Sunday.
Yes! I'll do it!}

- You, sir, pick your man.
{I picked my Maan - Ilse Mann, & we assigned ourselves couriers.}

- We do not know what is happening here.
{We DO know what is happening here.}

- No matter what occurs, I will find you.
{Don't worry. I WILL be there.}

And so it went, & so it goes ...

In the end, all went as planned. Oh, there were those teeny George Road ambushes, but we evaded the snares. There was a level of tension that went beyond logistics questions, but we worked it out. There was a lack of sleep, but hey - there was post-Gathering down time for that (about a day's worth). There was sun & rain, mist & fog; hikes & theatre, friends & camaraderie ... the raffles were fun; the Mask Raffle particularly suspenseful. We had a guest who spoke about his craft & graciously posed & signed & greeted. The weekend wound down to a relaxing pleasant end. It was a pretty darn good time & we thought we had it all ... until this year's Gathering proved it can always be improved or enhanced in some way, even if only by the presence of great people.

There, but for the Grace of God, go I.

If any one person represents what we see as the spirit of this particular Gathering, it is little Ariel Boutette. Call her a poster child, if you like, or MohicanLand's adopted daughter. She is a little girl born with several serious health conditions requiring ongoing medical treatment, not least of which is the absence of eyes. 

We first heard of Ariel in autumn '99, thanks to Bea Janisch. We then sponsored a Christmas Auction with all proceeds going to Ariel's Fund. Several people participated in the bidding & others sent donations. We thank all of you for doing so. In the end, Kate Penman 'won' the bid - & from there, went on to plan, organize, & oversee Ariel's Cabin for this year's Gathering. Thanks to Kate's hard work & the donations & support of many people, Ariel's Cabin raised $850 US dollars.

When we first 'knew' of little Ariel, we couldn't help but to fall in love with her. Not only does she move the heart by way of her compounded medical needs, but she has a smile that radiates with immense joy. Then to discover she was born the same day as our youngest daughter, Isabella, and like Isabella, four weeks early! ... Yes, there, but for the Grace of God, go I. How fortunate we all are ~

Though we remain yet undecided as to another Gathering next year, should we have one, Kate (Bless her heart!) has already volunteered to continue organizing Ariel's Cabin. Whatever develops, Ariel's family will always be in need of a helping hand. If you'd like to help in some way, please e-mail us.

On behalf of Ariel & the Boutette family, thanks to Kate, Bea, & each of you who sent donations to be auctioned or supported the efforts with your bids & purchases.

Perhaps we've a tradition in the making ...

... Elaine

Gathering III ... Days I, II, & a half of III; Hearsay; Because I need more proof than this man's word.

For starters, see: THE COURIER ... Special Issue Sixteen!

To be continued

Return To:
THE 2000 GREAT MOHICAN GATHERING


And Visit:
IN THE GORGE ... Photos 1
IN THE GORGE 2 ... Photos
AT THE BILTMORE ESTATE ... Photos
ON THE CLIFF TRAIL OF CRP ... Photos
AROUND THE TRADING POST ... Photos
2000 GATHERING ROSTER
THE GATHERING AWARDS 2000

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