Elderhostel Notebook #70 Aug. 3, 2000

Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers
compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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   From the Editor's Notebook

This issue is a trifle short but I wanted to send it out before
leaving for Lakewoods resort in Cable, Wisconsin, where we spent
a week each summer with our daughter and her family- sort of a do
it yourself inter generational elderhostel program.

The next issue of the Dialogue will come out in Mid August when
we return.

I hope I didn't miss any reports in this issue as material came
in both here at home and while we were on the road enroute to and
at at the Dixie College program. It is always a bit confusing to
coordinate material from the notebook computer  and the desktop
computer using different mailing programs and AOL versions.

If I did lose your report in the process  please  send your
report again for the next issue.

I took advantage of the short issue to include some verses I
wrote at the Dixie College program in my report.

   Program Reviews

     Intergenerational: Hawaii
     Dixie College, St. George, Utah
     Pennsylvania State University Elderhostel
     Four Scandinavian Capitals
     Iceland Birding 
     Santee-Cooper Elderhostel, SC
     Russian Waterways - Adventures Afloat


Intergenerational: Hawaii
July, 2000

The Hawaii Intergenerational trip was divided into three parts:
Earth, Sky,and Water.  The earth had to do with Volcanoes. We
walked up (Way Up) cinder cones, Lava crusts (on top of real
lava), and Rain Forest paths. The group also stayed for several
days in Waimea which is Parker Ranch country. Would you believe a
ranch of 250,000 acres on Big Island? It is there!  Teddy , my 9
year old grandson went Horseback riding. It was his FIRST and he
could not stop smiling!

For the "Sky" part, we went up 9,000 feet on Mauna Kea.The
Observatories are at 13,000 feet, but children are not allowed to
go up that high. However, the Astronomer-lecturer did have many
high powered telescopes set up and while it was still day-light,
both Teddy and I  got to see the "spots" on the sun. After dark,
we located many constellations, but my biggest thrill was being
able to see the Big Dipper  AND  The Southern Cross all at the
same time! Only in Hawaii does this  happen.

In the "Water" part, we snorkeled, swam , and explored Tide
Pools. Of course, we all were instructed in Hawaiian words, Hula,
Lei making, Hawaiian cooking and even Hawaiian legends. Sue
McGovern had us spell-bound with her "story-telling" and the kids
did not want her to stop!

The co-ordinators of this were Sue and Rob McGovern. A more
sensitive and co-operative couple that one could ever meet! They

I heartily endorse this program, however  it is as it
states......physically active!  I wished that I, in preparing for
this event, had climbed more stairs and hills  and not emphasized
the "walking".

My grandson counted up all the things that he did for the very
first time in his life.  There were twenty-one!

Helen J. Grabowski


Dixie College, St. George, Utah
Three National Parks
July 16-21, 2000


Dixie College is a state college located on the southern edge of
Utah near a number of National Parks and National Monuments. It
offers a number of elderhostel programs each year at its
Conference Center in St. George, an older converted women's
dormitory located 8-10 blocks from the modern campus, and at
various other locations in southern Utah.

The National Parks program is one of their "rolling" programs
that uses a motor coach to take the program participants to the
site of their studies rather than rely on indoor classroom
experiences. The major course of study was the geology of the 
area, namely the Colorado Plateau that rose from ancient seas 
millions of years ago to force the Colorado, Virgin, and other
rivers to cut deep canyons and form many rocky formations out of
the layers of sedimentary rocks put down by the ancient sea.
layers of rock  form distinctive patterns of geologic aging in
stages know as the Grand Escolante Staircase, each stage starting
with its lower, oldest layer as the youngest, topmost layer from
the last stage.

Le Grande  Escolante

Plateaus, Steps of ages, Carry earth's memory Up the staircase,
rising on tides Of Time.

The major canyon formed this way was the Grand Canyon, and the
north rim of the Grand canyon was one of the parks visited along
with Bryce Canyon and Canyons in Zion national Park.

We learned of mesas and buttes and arches and natural bridges, of
hoodoos (formations eroded into symbolic shapes) of dinosaurs,
and of pioneers in the area.

At Zion we hiked along trails above the Virgin River, named after
an early explorer in the area, noting the great variety of micro
climates and features.

Two of the evenings during the program were spent at motels
located along the route and three evenings at the Conference
Center in St. George. Breakfasts were generally continental
breakfasts at the center or the hotels, lunches were sack
lunches, and dinner was at the College cafeteria some 8 blocks
from the center (bus transportation provided) or at a restaurant
along the way. One evening meal was a Cowboy cookout at a camping
area on the route.

We were concerned that July might be a hot time to take this
program, and it was with daily high temperatures at St. George at
100 degrees or above. This didn't prove to be a problem, however,
as the parks where we spent most of our time were at much higher
altitudes where temperatures were more moderate.

The hikes in the parks were moderate with the longest about three
miles long and most were not steep or rugged- with one exception
at Bryce.

The instruction was excellent and the director gracious and
helpful. As usual the group was good company with particpants
from every region of the country.

The Conference center and the motor coach  are both showing their
age but rooms  had private baths and provided clean comfortable
lodging, and the bus was reliable and the driver friendly and
skillful. Meals were generally good.

We would have appreciated a little more time to explore the
college campus. We had a discount at the college book store but
no time to use it. On Friday morning local re enactors gave us a
delightful tour of St. George where we met Brigham Young who had
sent some of his flock down to the area to grow cotton (hence the
Dixie name) and one of his many wives, along with other assorted
pioneers, including a judge who held court and tried an
unrepentant member of our group for the crime of stealing water
from his neighbor.

A program well worth taking.

Jim and Maggie Olson


Pennsylvania State University Elderhostel
Early American Popular Music

popular music and its history. Pennsylvania State University/Off

We had three classes: #1 The World of Ragtime, Early Tin Pan
Alley (popular music from 1900 to 1930), and Dixieland Jazz,
presented by Tex Wyndham who is an entertainer who gave us
wonderful history and wonderful piano and voice renditions of
many songs. Class #2 Jazz: Dixieland--how jazz is created (NOT
modern Jazz) by an excellent band music teacher, including a
performance of his Dixieland Band (wonderful), and #3 The Mills
Brothers: history, films, recordings.

The Hotel is the Days Inn in State College, Pennsylvania, lovely
rooms, daily maid service. Food was also very good. Lovely town.
One of the best of the 28 Elderhostels we've attended.

Judy Gorman


Four Scandinavian Capitals

A friend and I took the four Scandinavian Capitals, three weeks 
and the Iceland Birding trip for two weeks.

Both trips were very well organized, excellent accommodations,
really good variety of food and restaurants for dinner and lunch.
All of the local guides were excellent with the exception of
Sweden. He was a bit disorganized. We were in each of the four
capitals for four days and went from morning til night to see all
the sights. We were all provided with a transportation pass in
each city which we used sometimes as a  group or on our own, nice
amenity. We attended an opera, a concert, folk dance performances
and a play. We took the overnight ferry twice  between countries
so no time was lost in travel and that is really a great way to
go, wonderful buffet and beautiful scenery.  I really felt we got
a good taste of the Scandinavian countries and would recommend
the trip. My friend an I took a day trip on our own in Norway,
called Norway in a Nutshell, well worth the expense and can be
booked at most of the hotels. Took you through the mountains and
on a boat through a fjord.

Carol Shoemaker


Iceland Birding 

The Iceland trip took us clear around Iceland and I loved it and
would highly recommend it even if you are not a bird watcher, as
about half of us on the trip were not. We had a wonderful guide
and bus driver and a large comfortable bus so many of us had
seats to ourselves, which was nice as we traveled every day. I
must first preface my remarks about Iceland by saying that the
sun shone 13 out of the 15 days we were there and the two rainy
ones were not really heavy rain in Icelandic terms. Had it been
true Icelandic weather and rained 13 out of the 15 days I might
have had a different feeling. Might also have had a different
feeling if instead of 18 to 24 hours of daylight we had been
there in winter when the reverse is true. Iceland has absolutely
beautiful and dramatic scenery snow capped mountains, waterfalls,
lava fields, dramatic bird cliffs with thousands of birds, green
coastal areas with small farming or fishing villages. The
villages are attractive as the roofs are often painted bright
colors which used to signify political affiliation but are now
just decorative and some of the houses themselves are brightly
painted. There are many many waterfalls in all sizes, glaciers,
geysers, bubbling mud springs, and lava fields with fantastic
formations, a few beautiful beaches, and quaint fishing harbors.
We saw 60+ kinds of birds, many Icelandic horses, reindeer, and
an artic fox. It is an extremely clean country, very homogeneous,
very high literacy rate, high standard of living. The food was
wonderful. lots of  fish, of course, salmon and trout being the
most common. All soups were made with lots of cream and butter,
how can you miss. Good breads and dessert, not such great salads
and vegetables. Most kids of middle school and high school age
either work in the summer or go to work school and which is sort
of community service type project. School is free, health care is
free, taxes and costs are high but they do get something back for
their taxes. very stringent gun control laws, very little crime.

Carol Shoemaker


Santee-Cooper Elderhostel
South Carolina
View From A Canoe

This Elderhostel took place on the Santee-Cooper lakes of South
Carolina, down near the Georgia boarder. The time of the year as
October and it involved a fair amount of-- surprise--canoeing.
We, my wife Annemarie and I, had a super time. We canoe through
the Sparkleberry Swamp, which sounds yucky, but was great, in and
out of cypress trees with Spanish moss, some places just wide
enough for a single canoe, and then open up to a hidden pond.
Birds and turtles and things all made in interesting. Supposedly
there's some 'gators around as well, but we didn't see any. We
also canoed down the Edisto River, quite a hefty jaunt, but it
was downstream and everyone came through with flying colors.

Also included in this were nature trips to a Carolina Bay, Bidler
Forest, and a boat ride to the sunken forest on Santee-Cooper and
a visit to the hydroelectric power plant and lock.

Of course, I saw few bodies, dead people, those who had come to a
foul end, but fortunately that was all in my imagination as I
researched the trip for the third in the James P. Dandy
Elderhostel Mysteries, TIP A CANOE. It comes out in January and
you can check it out at: http://www.olg.com/pfwriter

Pam Ardern did fine job of herding us around, answering
questions, and seeing we were well taken care of. The food was
above adequate, though not gourmet like in Baltimore. And the
rooms were motel style. All in all, I recommend it to those who
would like to do an active Elderhostel.

Peter Abresch
the Jim Dandy ELDERHOSTEL Mysteries


Russian Waterways - Adventures Afloat

I have just returned from this trip (June 16-30) and found it a
wonderful way to visit Russia for the first time.  Our home for
all but 3 days was the Nicolai Bauman, a Russian river cruise
ship.  There were 80 oi us Elderhostlers (divided in 2 groups for
sightseeing) and a group of French tourists on board.  Cabins
were small but we had a private bath and shower and did not spend
much time there.  The first 3 days we visited Moscow including
the Bolshoi   Moscow Circus, and then sailed on the VVolga
stopping at several towns and cities along the way.  Each town
had it own personality, large or small - although we did visit
lots of churches and monasteries!  We were at the Angelterre
Hotel in St. Peterbsurg the last 3 days - a 5 star hotel with an
incomparable breakfast buffet.  We visited all the important
sites - and had very knowledgeable guides in all the cities.

Our leaders, Mara and Stan, did an excellent job including
dealing with some medical problems.  Weather ranged from cold and
rainy in Moscow to sunny and hot at some of the stops on the
river.  I would highly recommend this trip.

Ruth Johnson