May 2003 Elderhostel

Highlands, North Carolina

Donna Keaton and I drove to Highlands, NC, to attend an elderhostel at The Mountain Retreat Center. The week was devoted to Wildflowers of Appalachia, Story-telling, and Appalachian music. In spite of the foggy weather, we enjoyed every minute. Here are some of the highlights.

Mountaintop location

Deckchairs at the Lodge

Lee Knight singing to the dulcimer Pat Greenwald portraying Nance Jude  

Our three instructors were all excellent. Lee Knight covered Appalachian music, accompanying himself on banjo and dulcimer; Pat Greenwald portrayed Appalachian (mostly women) characters, and Gwynn Ramsey gave double as our botany teacher and also as a Master Appalachian story-teller.

Fog obscured the view.

Gwynn Ramsey telling a Jack tale

When the fog withdrew, the view was worth the wait.

Meditation Rock Rustic Cabins with decks The Tree House
Foggy morning charm. The Tower Donna is enchanted

Eager elderhostelers listen to Gwynn at the Botanical Garden in the Highlands

Gwynn knows them all. Flame Azaleas
  Swamp Iris Sneeze weed

When our Elderhostel group drove down to the Highlands to visit the Botanic Garden, we were pleased to discover that there was no fog and the sun even came out to accompany our botanical pursuits.

Rhododendrons and azaleas Iris A temperate rainforest
Pond in the Botanic Garden Dog hobble Donna and I before the 200 yr. old poplar tree.
A misty day in May Wild Geranium Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls
Ever changing shadows on the mountains Vasey's Trillium Bob and Pat Greenwald
The Puzzle-workers. The puzzle completed! The Mountain Quartet
  Mona Lisa's older sister. Gwynn and Betty Ramsey

The last day we did story-telling. Donna bravely told a story, but I did not get up enough nerve to tell one. I did resolve to go back to North Carolina to continue with my story telling career. Gwynn Ramsey and Pat Greenwald inspired me.

Pat Greenwald leading a story-telling worshop Donna Mae telling a story  

After leaving the Mountain, Donna and I headed for Kentucky and Mammoth Cave, where Donna had gone for her honeymoon and with her son Scott. We visited the cave, hiked the trail to Echo Spring, and wound up the day with a sunset boatride on the Green River.

Ranger John explains the cave development along the Heritage Trail. The Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave Graffitti highlighted on the cave wall
Echo River emerges from the Cave At last, a bench! Miss Green River
     
The Green River (is really brown) Miss Green River's
merry Captain
The quaint-looking Green River ferry is constantly in demand.

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