By Mark Pozner
We are lucky to be only a short distance to the unique Stone Mountain Park. I have been climbing this mountain regularly and have seen some amazing things. Did you know:
Pools at the mountain top contain tiny clam shrimp in the summer. They are very small, looking like a small piece of brown sand. Who would believe live shrimp on the top of a mountain?
At various points there are old graffiti dates carved into the rock– 1876, 1879, and by the railings 1885 and 1899. Call these historical graffiti. Of course, graffiti is prohibited now.
On clear days you can see Kennesaw Mountain 29 miles away. Also you can see Buckhead and Downtown, as well as the King and Queen office buildings at Perimeter.
On really clear days you can see the North Georgia mountains over 60 miles away. You can also look south and see the air traffic control tower at the airport.
At the bottom of the mountain in Confederate Hall is a museum with exhibits and a film.
Climbing the one mile trail to the top is as aerobic an exercise as the three mile jog on flat land I used to do. Others follow the Cherokee Trail or the almost five mile road around the mountain.
There are a group of regulars who climb anywhere from once a week to almost daily. You will get to know these folks and become a part of this walking exercise community. Hank is 83 years old and climbs almost daily. Lee has set the record of climbing 20 times roundtrip in one day (too much for me). Tim regularly pulls plastic bottles from the trash cans for recycling. Occasionally there are climbers playing guitar, a great soundtrack for climbing. Once I saw bagpipers at the top.
This family friendly mountain often has parents and children walking. After the youngsters run ahead and run out of energy, they beg to be carried. I have met many people visiting from other countries who consider this an important sight to see in America.
Stone Mountain also has historical importance. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech, said “Let Freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!” It would be the right thing to place a plaque commemorating this at the top.
The Crossroads area has many children friendly activities especially in the summer season. Adults like the regular glass blowing demonstrations every two hours or so. And everyone likes the fudge and candy.
I have been told that the Stone Mountain Historical and Environmental Education Center plans this coming January – February to set up a training program for walkers and hikers who wish to become Information Volunteers. We will learn more new things about this fabulous mountain – its plants and animals and geology and history. Then as graduates we can pass along what we have learned.
If you are interested in signing up for this training, call Mark Pozner at 770-939-1203 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will make sure you are notified when training begins. Oh – see you on the trail.Mark Pozner is part of Friends of Tucker Nature Preserve and works with Stone Mountain Park as well.