New states: Mississippi; Alabama; Georgia
Turns out the road home goes through home for both Rebecca and me.
We decided to drive to visit my father who lives at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain, a Civil War Battlefield Park in Marietta, Georgia.
Our route took us through Birmingham, Alabama, which is tucked into the lowest reaches of the Appalachian Mountains. You might be surprised at how mountainous that region is. The interstate highway just cuts through it, but one can imagine the backroads through the hills could be as steep and winding as those in the Ozarks.
We crossed the border into Georgia in time for our dashboard clock to be correct – for two days. We’d left it on Eastern time through four time zones, but today it’s off by an hour anyway: Today is the longest day of the year.
Growing up I did not spend a lot of time on Kennesaw Mountain, but we’ve made up for it since I’ve moved away. We hike to Cheatham Hill or up the mountain more than once on every trip to town.
The best trail climbs Pigeon Hill, then ascends Little Kennesaw, drops to a saddle, then rises to the top of Kennesaw at 1800 feet, an elevation gain of 650 feet over two miles, not counting the extra hundred feet resulting from the saddle. There are great views of the Atlanta skyline from several places on the mountains.
There’s a new trail, the 24-battery trail, that starts close to my dad’s house that goes to the visitors’ center, aother four-mile round trip. The 24 battery placements are the most interesting artifacts of the war in the park.
The Civil War was lost, or won, by the time Sherman reached Cobb County, but there was plenty of dying left to be done, along with the burning of the state. The battle was especially ridiculous. The Confederates were dug in in an unassailable position, but Sherman, with his superior forces, tried to take the mountain. Fought in heavy rain in June, 1864, the assault accomplished nothing more that convincing Sherman to go around the Confederates to get to Atlanta instead of through them.
When I was a kid on the other side of Atlanta, near Emory, Kennesaw Mountain was way out in the country. We might have gone there once, before we moved to Marietta. Now it’s just another suburb. The park has become a major recreational destination. The parking lots are always full, and the trails are crowded.
When I was in college, my family went on a trip in an RV to the Gaspe peninsula. When we got back, my father got involved in a business venture, leasing a prime location on Highway 41, the major southbound artery into Atlanta, near Lake Alatoona. He built an RV campground. It was very nice, in the woods with hillside, private sites.
I was the first manager of Lakeside Campground, which wasn’t on the lake. It was a depressing job, as there were never more than two or three campers in the campground on any night.