The Serpent Mound is the worlds oldest surviving example of an ancient animal effigy. This immense earthwork was constructed by early American Indian cultures. The exact builders are unknown. The mound is thought to be a ceremonial site. The serpent motif has a symbolic connection in many cultures. It represents the cycles of birth, death, resurrection and the higher and lower worlds.
A pathway circles the mound, though at ground level it is hard to appreciate the grandness of the work. An observation tower does provide a more birds eye view of the mound.
Seeing the perfect opportunity to amortize my recent drone purchase, I inquire about its use. The staff was most accommodating. A couple of reasonable guidelines are requested and off I go. Excitedly, I put on the propellers and plan the perfect flyover. The flight was to go from the coiled tail to its oval shaped head. I pull out the controller only to learn that I had left the switch on and it is completely dead. Geez, what a rookie mistake. My delusions as a professional drone pilot take a crushing blow.
I head to the truck to see if I have the cables to recharge the thing. Luckily I do and I commence to sit for 30 minutes to get a good charge.
Nervously, I begin the flight fearful of hitting a tree or generally losing control of the thing. If the drone were to fall, I’d have to just leave it rather than taking the walk of shame over a sacred site, that wouldn’t be cool! Luckily the flight is turbulence free.
The walk around the ceremonial mound only takes a few minutes. There is a small gift shop and museum that offers a 12 minute video explaining the site and its celestial connections. It amazes me the knowledge these ancient cultures had on the suns movement, solstices and the like. Certainly not to diminish the uniqueness and coolness factor of the site, all told, I spent more time in my truck waiting for the charge than I did exploring the site.
Power to the Peebles
I haven’t quiet had my sense of adventure fulfilled for the day so I drop into Mel’s Main Street grill in downtown Peebles. Local eateries usually have some folks around that are sure to point me to a local attraction off the beaten path. After ordering the special: Cubed steak, mac n cheese, green beans, & mashed potatoes, I seek out local experts.
I overhear (okay eavesdropping) 3 seasoned gentleman discussing the virtues of a John Deere 10 speed. It seems that shifting from 2-low to 4-high is optimal. She’s geared from 3-high to 4-low up to 5-high but she ain’t got that 4th low. But shifting through 1-5 individually then back down to 4-low does something. I’m paraphrasing a bit as they were grinding gears faster than I could write or think. This conversation was in process when I walked in and continued until after the food arrived and then on until after I ate it. It was a perplexing topic that they all seemed laser focused on. Seeing I wasn’t going to be able to break into that conversation, I ask my young server, Sierra, “Whats something cool to see around here?” Without hesitation she says “Woodland Altars”.
I inquire “What is there”? The dramatic pause, cocked head and wrinkled forehead makes me wonder, is that a trick question? Finally she says she doesn’t remember since its been a while since she’s been there. But then she recalls “large ant hills”! “How large?” seems like a reasonable question. Again with the confused look and a confession that she only went there for a 6th grade field trip. Not quite a ringing endorsement from Trip Advisor but enough I decide to go check it out. I missed the finale of the riveting John Deere gearing dilemma, as on my way out, I catch the conversation has drifted to air brakes. Dang, if I only had more time.
To the Altar
After the 10 minute drive, I pull into the “altars” It seems the place is actually an outdoor wedding venue. Unfortunately, I am greeted with a chained gate. Well, darn!, sometimes my spontaneity just doesn’t work out. Chalking this up as one of those times, I plan to leave.
I do, however, take the opportunity to let Murphy out for a final pee and leg stretching before the ride home. I jump in the truck and begin to loop around the entrance and out the exit.
Oh you didn’t see them either; the mounds lining the road ahead. I’m thinking maybe someone is setting fence posts. I go take a closer look. It’s just piles of fibrous dirt. Thinking I must have been duped, I scrape the top off one of the mounds. 1000’s of large brown ants rush to secure the perimeter. I have seen all I need to see. I leave them to their rebuilding efforts in peace. Why they are there and how they have survived since Sierra was here in 6th grade I haven’t a clue. However, I find it fitting to go from an effigy mound to ant mounds in just a few miles span. My lust for adventure quelled for the day.