Two weekends ago, we climbed a mountain.
Well, sort of. Stone Mountain isn’t exactly a mountain; it’s actually one gigantic rock, the world’s largest hunk of exposed granite, to be exact. It’s 300 million years old and features some of the greatest people watching on the planet. My stars. But I digress.
I remember going to Stone Mountain when I was a little kid. The sky-tram–a sketchy, rocking trolley car you can ride to the top–still looks as dangerous as ever.
Of course, Tucker has been begging to ride it. Even Russ was spooked by the sky-tram, so we’ve never taken the boys to the top…until a few weeks ago when Atlanta gave us an unbelievably gorgeous June day. We rallied up the boys and decided to make the hike up.
I remember attempting to hike up Stone Mountain with my parents when I was apparently a tiny, scrawny kid. Here’s the memory, in its entirety: Laura walks forever, uphill, sweating and crying until Popster puts her on his back. Then we finally get to the Pharmacy School picnic area, it starts raining, and I don’t understand why my Dad won’t let me enter the “Best Looking Legs” contest.
Best Looking Legs contest? Someone had hung a shower curtain from the rafters of the picnic pavillion and the judge stood behind it, feeling up whatever leg was shoved behind the curtain. Seriously. School picnics have definitely gotten a little tamer since the mid 70’s.
Anyway, my memory of that day jumped into our backpack and had me convinced that there was no way on earth our older boys–much less Theo–could make it all the way to the top.
The hike started out innocently enough.
Our rock-climber Tucker was in heaven.
We walked up for maybe 20 minutes and hit the famed picnic pavillion from my youth. I must have been a mega-wimp as a child because it wasn’t that far nor was it that steep to get to the resting area. So, Popster, I apologize for being such a pain on that day way back in 1974.
Jack was determined to be the first Herakovich up the mountain. He actually tried to jog up it. We’d trek along for 10 minutes without seeing him and then we’d come upon him sitting on a boulder waiting for us. In the end, he was the first one to reach the summit, which isn’t exactly a summit but more like a flat top.
The high altitude had his bird-nest going in full force. (Stone Mountain tops out at [ahem] 825 feet, so obviously, it was the altitude, not the fact that his mother had neglected to get his hair cut, that caused his mop to go bananas like this.)
Tucker found this little hidey-hole and climbed over the railing (“Safety Last” is Tuck’s motto, you know) to go explore.
Russ and Theo attacked the most technically difficult section of the climb with the skills of alpine trekkers. The second half of the hike has this one stretch where the good folk at Stone Mountain (and their attorneys) have installed a handrail to assist you in walking up the slope which is not much steeper than a set of stairs. Ah, litigious Americans.
Theo made it all the way up and all the way back down; this shot above is the only time one of us held him. My child is way tougher than I was at age 3.5, that’s for sure.
Theo’s train obsession is still going in full force, by the way.
When we got back to the bottom, Tucker announced that he was the youngest person ever to climb a mountain (he apparently forgot that his younger brother was also with us). Then Tuck declared that the next mountain we climb should be Everest.
Now that we know we can handle an 825 foot summit, a 29,028 foot one should be a piece of cake.