Saturday, October 1, 2011


Around the Cumberland Gap folks wait all year for the Homecoming at Hensley Settlement.  This one day we2011_1001HENSLEY_HOMECOMING0035 are allowed to drive up the steep one-way Shillalah Creek road, mix with the Hensley and Gibbons descendants, participate in lots of ole timey activities and hear some stories.  We extended our stay to visit here again.

This being Patty + a National Park, the weather turned freakishly cold. ( A whole sidebar will someday be devoted to cataloguing the climatic calamities associated with our visits to National Parks.)

There were little sprinkles on the windshield at the campground which translated to snow flurries at 3000’ . Many park staff and volunteers spent the night up at the settlement to be ready for our arrival and everyone was  shivering and stamping feet but in fine spirits.
2011_0930HENSLEY_HOMECOMING0018Nearly 300 folks came and walked the settlement, watching basket making, eating apple stack cake, watching the moonshine still, grinding corn, and playing with period toys. By one o’clock, when the road opened back down, many were ready to head for lower altitudes, but we of the multiple layers, stocking caps and gloves had a thermos of hot chocolate. Thus fortified, we forged off to see beekeeping --

“These bees are mad at me;  they've got babies in this glass hive and it’s cold on ‘em” ,

-- blacksmithing, soap making and quilting and an array of the fresh fruits that were eaten and canned in the settlement. A fresh load of Apple stack cakes was being delivered by red lightning flyer wagon. 
“I have to get this wagon back to it’s proper time period,” the wagon master told us with a wink.

We lasted until mid afternoon then slipped down the mountain in four wheel drive, Low range.  We have been kicking around the Airstream for several hours  and are JUST NOW getting our temperature stabilized. No ice cream tonight.

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