Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Dec 12 2004 - National Mall/Monuments Geology Bike Tour (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Katie Stofer
Participants:Katie Stofer, Jesse Allen, Michael Eppert, Allison Boland, Paula Moran, Christopher Gran, Lucas Fisher, Chris Eacho

Write Up:
Our hardy handful braved a sharp chill though the sun shone on our three-hour tour of the National Mall and memorials. Embarking from the Jefferson, our NPS guide Sonya revealed many secrets of the stones, and sprinkled her stories with the history inevitably entwined with the politics of creating the monuments and memorials. For anyone who's ever wondered why the Washington Monument changes color two-thirds of the way up, this is your tour! Did you know that monument's marble is from Cockeysville?

Sonya patiently answered all our questions, such as why we didn't talk about some of the memorials (they weren't as geologically interesting). We rode out to Haynes Point and learned of the geology of the river and the creation of the town from lots of infill and what that meant for the many monuments. And we learned the tale of that mysterious hand and face sticking up out of the ground at the tip of the point. The trip back took us through the sprawling FDR Memorial, where we learned what common geological term was often misused. We finished by the Korean and Lincoln Memorials, again learning the stories that made their layout and design much more meaningful. The Lincoln in particular has an amalgam of different stones picked to help represent the theme of unity of the states. Unfortunately, we had to skip the basement of the Lincoln, a particularly special trip hinted at by the Geotimes article that made me aware of this tour, as the article actually got Sonya in trouble as she had been taking people there on the sly.

With the sun rapidly going down, we grabbed a quick bite at the food stand nearby but split rather quickly so those who were riding home or to the Metro could make it back. The NPS runs these and other tours throughout the summer, so I highly encourage you to drop in on one, or to organize another--the NPS is very helpful about working out special tour dates if necessary.

--Katie Stofer

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