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The Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee Nation by Bonna L. Nelson

What bet ter way to celebrate a bir thday than on a train r ide through the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina? My husband John reserved lunch for us in one of the 1940s-era dining cars of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. We savored a delicious meal with unlimited dessert and beverages in souvenir tumblers in front of a large picture window overlooking the mountain scenery. Our dining car hostess, Shay, a member of the local Cherokee Nation, shared her knowledge of the

area while keeping everyone well fed and thoroughly entertained. Our memorable 44-mile Nantahala Gorge journey carried us through t wo tunnels and over historical iron bridges, alongside lakes, rivers and streams and through the Great Smoky Mountains and valleys. We traveled beside the Little Tennessee and Nantahala rivers across Lake Fontana and into the magical Nantahala Gorge, observing some of the most beautiful scenery in America. We saw brave kayakers and whitewater rafters challenged