Saturday, March 18, 2006

Friday night, part 2

If there are only a few things you can do in the coming week, I highly recommend including the Ocmulgee National Monument Lantern Light Tours in your plans. The tours, at 7:30 and 9, cost $5 per person, and last about an hour. Kids are more than welcome, though they aren’t allowed to hold the lanterns because, as our guide Steve Rudolph told us, they tend to swing them back and forth, dripping wax all over the inside of the lantern. When we got to the monument, we waited for the crowd to gather around a large bonfire before being given lanterns and heading out on our one-mile trek. Steve was full of stories and very enthusiastic throughout the tour, and it was easy to tell that he’s very passionate about his job. He told stories of a former trading post that burned after about 25 years, and of the Spanish never finding it; he explained how the ground leading up to the mounds is built in levels instead of straight up and down; but mostly he reflected on the past, and preserving history and culture. And even though I remembered too late into the trip that I’m still a little afraid of the dark and slimy, crawly things, the final climb to the top of the mounds offered a beautiful view of Macon at night. It was a perfect end to a somewhat philosophical and reflective journey to the top.

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