By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
A couple of weeks back, I suggested that we all try to get out a bit more often to see more of the natural beauty of Georgia, beginning perhaps with the so-called seven natural wonders of Georgia.
In order to minimize my sense of hypocrisy – oh, it is always there, I just try to push it as far back as possible most of the time – I decided that it wouldn’t kill me to get out last Saturday and go to the most accessible and, dare I say it, commercial of these wonders: Stone Mountain.
After all, it had been about a decade since I had been to hike up the mountain and take in the Lasershow, so, with only a $10 entrance fee, I thought it would be a relatively cheap way to spend a Saturday out of the house (more on that later).
So, accompanied by Alayna, my girlfriend, and Claire, my cousin’s daughter, and loaded up with a backpack full of snacks, we braved Highway 78 all the way up through Loganville and Snellville to get to the big rock.
Traffic inside the park was a bear because of the Yellow Daisy Festival, which was taking place last weekend – good planning on my part, I know – but we eventually got to where we wanted to be and prepared for the one-mile trek up the mountain.
Seeing how it had been a long time since I hiked up Stone Mountain, I thought that I could recall that the hike wasn’t that bad and that I could wear sandals. I suggested that Alayna do the same.
Both were mistakes.
It was quite challenging in several places with my worn-out sandals, and, due to the 90-plus degree weather – again, great planning on my part – we had to stop a couple times for a little of the water that we had brought along.
Just as we were approaching the summit, I realized, naturally, that I had left my camera in the car some 800-odd feet below, and I wasn’t about to go back down just to get a picture of me at the top for you people.
Sorry. I’m just not that great to look at. Even with the beautiful scenery.
After a few minutes of rest in the air conditioning of the building at the top of the mountain, we were headed back down, which proved to be a much easier exercise that the climb.
Finding that the snacks weren’t quite enough and that we had plenty of time before the Lasershow, we decided to buy some hotdogs at the Granite Cafe, which, of course, were way too expensive but were actually pretty good.
Alayna’s $7 Chicago dog (no fries included in the price) had such an assortment of junk on top of it that I had never seen in my life, including sliced tomato, but, after a little taste, I was regretting my decision to save a little money on my naked dog…
The Lasershow was, by far, the most disappointing part of the day. Since I have seen it, they have added screen projections to the show, somehow without noticing that projections look absolutely awful on a relief carving!
It’s not like you can hang a projection screen up there; what were they thinking?
And they have “updated” the musical numbers with newer country-music songs. They even use someone’s cover version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia!”
They have even taken out Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” replacing it with a gaudy version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Now I love the national anthem as much as the next person – I’m still awed with a sense of reverence each and every time I hear it, despite the dozens of sporting events I cover – but the only song that should end the Lasershow is “God Bless the USA.”
(Which, otherwise, I don’t even really like.)
Shouldn’t we have some sort of preservation commission to keep things like this from happening?
From this point on, the Lasershow is now dead to me. Goodbye Lasershow.