The Fourth of July, 1976, was just around the corner when George and Elizabeth Ellison embarked on a hike that would change their lives forever. The two were walking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when their wandering brought them to the park’s edge, a remote and beautiful cove with a bubbling stream flowing through it.
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When George Ellison first started writing nature columns for the Asheville Citizen-Times back in 1986, it was with the assumption that, while he enjoyed such things, reader interest was likely limited and the column would be a short-lived venture. So, when the editor called him in to talk, Ellison was surprised to get not a polite goodbye but promotion to permanent status. The resulting column, “Nature Journal,” is still published today.