We had a long holiday weekend and so we decided to take the family to Stone Mountain. We go there a few times a year since it is only about 45 minutes from our house. We typically purchase an annual park pass so that we can do the attractions as well as just enjoy the nature aspect of the park.
The park offers a tram ride to the top of Stone Mountain. (You can see the cable towers in the photo above). The tram car carries up to 82 people per car and runs every 15 minutes or so. We've been to the top many times, but it never gets old, so away we went - it was about 5pm. The top of the mountain is a large area with a fence around the steep sides and then on one side the mountain slopes off so there is a trail you can walk down. The trail down the mountain is about a mile, but it is pretty steep and it is not smooth walking. There are boulders to step off and around and just general mountainy stuff. It is recommended that you wear proper hiking shoes for the trail.
When we were done enjoying the view from above, we noticed that the top of the mountain was basically deserted and we were alone. GREAT! There would be no line for the tram ride down. WRONG! We went in to the mountain top lobby to find that they had closed the tram ride down to the bottom due to a storm looming on the horizon. They had the weather channel on and we could see that there was indeed a very large storm coming in from Alabama. The park ranger suggested that once it hits, we could be waiting for a few hours for it to pass over. Basically, we were stuck on the top of the mountain - at the mercy of mother nature. Knowing that I was not dressed for hiking, nor were my kids, nor was Hunk, we thought we should wait it out. By now it was 6pm and we were ready for dinner. We decided to go to the mountain top snack shop and bite the bullet to purchase overpriced, low quality food. The alternative was to start walking, or wait it out and get really hungry. The problem with waiting it out was that 1) my kids get really irritating when they are overly hungry. 2) Hunk puts on an ASSHAT quicker than a bee to honey when he is not fed on a regular schedule. I was not in any mood to deal with either of these so $8 hotdogs was fine with me!!
PROBLEM! When they close the tram ride, they close THE ENTIRE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN!? So the snack shop became CLOSED for our wait. Now, I'm no marketing genius, but to me this is the.worst.idea.ever. We were captive and hungry, I was willing to pay out the ass for crap - this should be a retailers dream. With this, we decided that the waiting idea was out.
The storm was not yet on us, no rain, only clouds on the horizon. We decided to start walking despite our attire. It wasn't really all that bad, but it makes me wonder what the protocol is if we had brought Grandma along. Seeing as how the tram was to close for the night at 8:30, what is the deal if this big storm comes in and last for hours!!?? At what point, and how, do they finally get folks to the bottom of the mountain? It took us about 40 minutes to walk down, we were going pretty slow due to fact that two of us were wearing shoes that slide rather easily. It did make my knees scream (still are hurting), but it was fun and we saw lots of carvings on the way down. The mountain has been visited by people for many years and there were carvings dated back to 1814 - probably some were even older, but that is what we saw. Pretty amazing that they are still there!!
So, we survived the trek and we promptly went out to dinner. Did you know? Stone Mountain is an un-erupted volcano?? That is your history for the day, my friend.