Midwestern Epigraphic Society
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Winter Walk with White

John White, below, points to the infomation board, with an earthwork arc in background. At right, Pat White rests at the lookout over the Olentangy River. Extreme left, other members are ready for the walk

A cold winter Saturday morning [Dec 9, 2006] five hardy folks met at the Highbanks Metro Park to trudge along the gravel path to view the remains of Highbanks Earthwork, attributed to the Cole Culture1, located atop a 300-foot cliff above the Olentangy River, a few miles north of Columbus, Ohio.

Their first stop was the Pool Family Cemetery to pay their respects to the pioneer family that had originally settle the land that now is the Park. After a few moments they continued.

Scrunching along the path, over a ravine bridge, up and over a steep hill to surprise a small herd of deer who looked disaprovingly at the intrusion, they closed ranks for warmth and protection. Someone asked, "Are we there yet?" The three-quarter mile destination seemed much further away than imagined. But the question was ignored. With red cheeks and runny noses, they marched forward, caps pulled over their ears and coat collars buttoned tightly. A few forged ahead, thinking all the quicker for that cup of hot coca waiting their trek completion.

Suddenly the eerie quiet of the crisp, frosty woods was broken by the stomping feet of three Gen-X men dressed in leotards, winter coats, gloves and ski masks. They quickly passed the folks, exhaling visible puffs of air, hoping to catch up with their youth somewhere ahead of them.

The five plowed ahead, stopping at each fork in the road to consult their park maps before pushing ever forward again. "How far is it?" was pondered, answered with a "not far."

"There it is, the earthwork, right there!" someone pointed after a long time.

"No," another answered, "that's not it. You can be easily fooled out here in the deep woods."

But it was the earthwork, well, all that now remains of the original circle. They stopped to read the description sign and then ascended the viewing platform to look down at the Olentangy River and valley below them from. No one said, "I bet its really nice here in the summer, when its warm."

With mutually understood body language, the five in unison began the long walk back to the parking lot. Without dissention all passed on the detour to see the Adena mound, quickly saying they had seen it before -- AND the other Adena mound a couple of miles north, too.

Much later in the restaurant, sitting in the booth around steaming coffee cups they were all smiles and agreed the outing had been a success.


1.      The Cole Culture people lived from 800 to 1300 AD. Their villages extended from present day Akron to Dayton. They buried their dead in graves (as opposed to mounds), lived in circular homes, and grew corn, beans, squash and tobacco. They died out (unknown reason) around 1300.