I have a deep belief that my love of mountains was fostered and encouraged by my parents.Their outings and little trips were almost always pointed toward the mountains tho’ they loved the sea as well.
My earliest memory of actually “touching” a mountain was when I was about six years old. One day, when Dad was home so probably a Sunday, he told me to find my saddle oxfords and he’d help me put them on [He was a great believer in Saddle Shoes for my school clothes and I usually got a new pair in the fall.] He said we were going to climb a mountain! At that time, I was pretty much unaware of Stone Mountain. When we got there, before we left the car, Dad told my brothers his rules -- mostly just about staying together, I think. Mother stayed in the car and read, probably glad for the respite.
More on Stone Mountain: Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock and the site of Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet (514 m) MSL and 825 feet (251 m) above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain is well-known not only for its geology, but also for the enormous bas-relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief in the world. The carving depicts three figures of the Confederate States of America: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis.
The only place any of us had a small problem was what we called the “slick spot.” Last week, after checking with my grandson, I learned it is still there. The view from the top is breathtaking and there is always a breeze. Since that first time, I have climbed the mountain many times. Our church’s young people’s groups often had hay rides to the mountain along with cook outs.
below, my grandson and a friend on top of Stone Mountain in 2008
The aerial tram was not there when I was young, nor were all the commercial businesses, nor the river boat. There was no charge to get in. One just parked the car and climbed a mountain.
below, my family in the 1940's
My other mountain climbing experience was in around the same time frame as Stone Mountain.
Kennesaw Mountain is in the National Battlefield Park, a 2,965 acre battlefield that preserves a Civil War [aka the War Between The States or Late Unpleasantness] battleground. The elevation at the summit is 1,808 feet. From June 19 until July2, 1864, 180,000 Union and Confederates soldiers fought on that land.
Some of the Union soldiers, over 10,000, are buried in the Marietta National Cemetery. More than 3,000 Confederate soldiers are buried at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery. Not all the soldiers fought at Kennesaw. Some were brought from other battles. The two cemeteries are distant from each other. I remember once asking my mother, who was buried in that cemetery we never visited. Her one word response was Yankees! Nuff said.
Several of my great grandfathers, uncles, and cousins fought at Kennesaw. At least they were close to home, fighting for their homeland.
Although the battlefield and mountain now have extensive trails, a paved road, museum etc., the day my dad, brothers, and I climbed the mountain, it was on a dry, dusty dirt trail and seemed much more tedious than Stone Mountain.
Back then, bottled water, as we know it, was never heard of. Just about the time I was terribly thirsty, Dad or a brother, found Muscadine vines. They were loaded with big, fat juicy grapes! I can still taste their sweet juice.
Muscadines were first discovered by the early colonists, in an area from the Piedmont Plateau over to the coast. There are several varieties, one of which is Scuppernongs and jelly made from them is, along with a homemade hot biscuit, about as good as it gets. I take some comfort from the fact that the soldiers fighting in the Georgia, summer heat, had our wonderful grapes for comfort.
above, Stone Mountain carving, and the lawn in front of it - on summer nights, now, folks take picnics and watch a laser show on the mountain