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Saturday, June 16, 2001

"I ain't your scout...and I sure ain't no damn militia. Clear it up any?"

Entry #6

As we prepare for this day, we pack a sack lunch and carry extra dry clothes, shoes, and socks because some of our day will be spent at the various waterfalls. Our destinations are The River Walk and Falls and the Dupont State Forest.

We all gather at the parking area to sign release forms for permission to be on the land owned by Dupont. We then take as few cars as possible and travel to an airstrip that is no long used to park them. We leave the cars here and enter the River Walk area. We learn that a group of land developers wanted to destroy this area and turn it into a gated community. A huge campaign was launched to fight this and thanks to the efforst of many, including some of our own Mohicanlanders, this was defeated. After seeing this, I am so grateful for their passion to save this beautiful area.

We have a pretty long hike through the forest. At the end of the hike we are greeted by Bridal Veil Falls. When you stand at the base of this falls and look up, to the right you see smooth rock that leads up to the upper cascade of the falls. I was sure this was the rock we see our three Mohicans run up in their quest to rescue the Munro sisters and Duncan, but I learn we will see that a little later in the day. You see this smooth rock in the background when Hawkeye tells Duncan he ain't his scout. So, we slowly make our way up. You have to be careful of your footing because some of the rock is slick and mossy.

At the top, we walk behind the falls. Now, the actors actually do walk behind this falls. It is the scene you see where they first enter the cave and you see them one by one, sort of in silhouette, going in. Also, the Huron with their lighted torches. So, once again, we walk the same footsteps as you-know-who. We stay up here for a little while and just take it all in.

On our way back down, on the opposite side, we are at the very spot where Hawkeye lets Duncan know he ain't his scout. Several of us have fun here reenacting that scene. So, this is not a river, which I always thought it was. It is, in actuality, water rushing downhill from that waterfall.

We leave here and go for a very long walk. All of the walking today is relatively flat, but there is a lot of it. We come to High Falls. This is the waterfall used in splicing the segment that shows our Mohican friends entering behind the falls (see entry #2). To the left of the falls we see the steep embankment of rock that Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook run up (in slow motion...sigh) to begin their rescue. This is indeed as steep an incline as it appears to be.

We continue our very long walking journey and finally reach our lunch location. The back drop of this is Triple Falls. After lunch, I make my way down to the base of the falls. Now, I climb up to the first level of these falls. Again, careful footing. This is the level of rock you see the actors walking across just as they've left the ambush on the George Road. They are walking across this area and then climb up those rocks, one at a time. Well, I, too, as well as many others, climb these rocks as well. Finger holes were drilled in these rocks for the actors to grab hold of. They're still there and, of course, I put my fingers in each one, just to be sure! When you watch the movie next time, notice Cora when she reaches up with her right hand, you can see that she is searching for these finger holes. (Hope I'm not spoiling this for you.) So all the time I was truly impressed that these actors could actually climb this rough rock, I learn their secret. Piece of cake! After spending time here, we make our way back to our cars. Time is getting away from us, so we decided not to go to Hooker Falls, the one where the stuntment go over in the canoes. Some, however, did go. Rhiannon, did you? Let us know here if you did.

We finally all get loaded into our vehicles and head back to town. There's a movie showing I want to see.

Saturday, June 16, 2001

"One called Magua arrived..."

Entry #7

On our way to Hendersonville, which is where the movie is showing, we stop to gas up and put on fresh clothes. We make our way into town, find the theater, park, and go in. This is a unique place in that it used to be the Skyland Hotel and the old ballroom is now the theater. Pizza, hot dogs, wine, beer, etc. could be bought. The theater is a very intimate setting in that there are no rows of seats. There are small tables and chairs, which can be moved around and placed wherever you wish.

Everyone is eating, visiting, but especially resting. It's getting close to showtime. We notice a bit of shuffling about and realize that our guest of honor has arrived. He and his family make their entrance to a round of applause and a standing ovation. His wife and son are seated as Wes makes his way to the stage. The first words out of his mouth are, "Let's hear it for the bad guy!" Everyone laughs and claps. He thanks us for inviting him. He talks a lot about the movie and the actors involved as well as the director. He told of the grueling circumstances they were under during the filming...heat, humidity, uphill climbs, etc. He took each one of the main characters and talked about them and he had good things to say. He saved "La Longue Carabine" until last. He talked of how he is a fine young actor and has gone on to be successful in many other films. He answered many questions some had for him. He is a very personable and funny man. He seemed very relaxed and genuinely glad to be there. Once we were given the word, the lights went down and the movie began.

You suddenly hear the cadence of the drum, the strings and low brass, and then that opening frame "1757". I tell you, my adrenalin was pumping and my heart was pounding. I was so excited to see this again on the big screen. Everything is so big and clear. The scenery is even more spectacular, the music more moving, and the characters are more real and larger than life. You can see just how open Hawkeye's eyes are when he is kissing Cora. Kissing with his eyes open, for crying out loud! SIGH!

Once the movie was over, the floor was opened again for questions for Wes. Oh! He told us that sometime during filming he tore his knee and had to have surgery. Probably an ACL or something like that. Anyway, he was put into a cast and had to be carried up Chimney Rock Park on a stretcher for the scenes filmed after this happened. In one of the scenes during his murdering of Uncas, his back is to the camera and he's standing there with those black leggings on, well the one on his right leg is a cast.

After this question and answer period, he makes his exit, as do we all. Some of us milled around afterward for a bit, then headed back to our lodging place. Tomorrow will be the most physical day of all. We will be witness to three deaths....one of a brave young warrior,one of a young Scottish lass, and the other of a Huron savage.