Monday, October 12, 2009

Stone Mountain

Sunday was a good day. Waffle House, early church service, took the kids to ride at the bank... But I needed to walk off Saturday's crash. Somehow I convinced Kathryn to join me and the kids for a hike at Stone Mountain.

We grabbed some lunch with the hipsters at the Carroll Street Cafe. We weren't cool enough to eat there, but still, it was really good.

The last time we were at Stone Mountain, we climbed up to the top. Sophie loves climbing on rocks and she wanted to go to the top. But my left thigh and left side were so sore, a climb to the top would have killed me. Today we walked around it.

At first, there was a lot of this...

 Rooty Trail

...followed by a lot of this.

 Cherokee Trail 1

When I left the house, I turned on my GPS to check the batteries, but apparently left it on the entire day and it was almost completely dead when we started walking. When we got around to where the shops were, I ran over and got some new batteries.

Robert E. Lee and Co. The most popular attraction at Stone Mountain.

 Stone Mountain Relief

The story of the carving is actually fairly interesting.

Just past the carving, we found a little nature garden.

 Nature Garden Dedication

The trail was lined with stones bearing the names of the Atlana Pen Women.

 Nature Garden Trail

Sophie thought they were headstones. "I'm walking on dead people."

I didn't see much in the way of a garden, but a large sourwood tree had fallen right into the middle of the clearing and destroyed part of a concrete picnic table.

Toward the back of the garden, you could walk right up to the face of the mountain.

 Kathryn and Sophie Touching the Mountain

 Iz Touching the Mountain

 Stone Mountain Face

Quick pose...

 Stone Mountain Face


We crossed the train tracks right as the train was coming by.

 Choo Choo

And stopped for a break at the old mill chute.

 Mill Chute

There's a little bit of water you have to cross to get to where we stopped. Iz just walked through it. Me and Kathryn stepped on some rocks. Sophie's legs were like 1 inch too short to step across the rocks, so she bent down and did this crazy stretch to get across them, but still couldn't reach. I've seen her do it before, but Kathryn hadn't. Very entertaining.

We saw some kind of cool bird flitting around, too. I need to learn more about birds.

The "old mill" itself.


And the covered bridge.

 Covered Bridge

The trail skirted Stone Mountain Lake for a while. And by skirted, I mean it literally ran inches from the edge of the lake. There were places even where they had to reroute uphill a bit because the lake had reclaimed part of the trail, and another section near an inlet where they'd had to build a walkway with chunks of granite.

We crossed the dam dividing Stone Mountain and Venable Lakes and saw a Blue Heron standing at mouth of the spillway. It looked so big in real life for how tiny it looks in the picture.

 Blue Heron

Looking out across Venable Lake I could see how much further we had to go. I was so sore. It looked like forever. But we were moving at a good pace. Not too fast, not too slow. We'd make it.

Sophie was getting bored. "Why do we even walk in the woods like this? It's so boring." But a few minutes later we got a good view of the mountain and Iz said "It's like Stone Mountain is a painting!" There you go. That's why. Or at least part of it.

About halfway around that lake, we stopped again for a break at a little trickle of waterfall. Upstream there was a large rock face, with water steadily running over it, but not very much water. I can't imagine how that little bit of water could have cleared out all that soil, but I guess it did.

We showed Iz how to operate the camera on my phone.

 Me and Kathryn On the Falls

And back on the trail...

 Cherokee Trail 4

Howell Lake had been all but drained.

 Howell Lake

And there was some little rock wall out in the middle of nowhere next to the trail...

 Girls on the Rock Wall

...and a chimney.


Soon, the trail started up the side of Stone Mountain.

 Cherokee Trail 5

It got rockier and rockier until we were on the stone face itself.

 Stone Mountain

Sophie got her wish. For the last mile or so, we climbed sideways over the west ridge.

 Stone Mountain

Iz noticed that you could even see Atlanta.

 The ATL

In places, trickles of water ran down the face, making it extremely slippery. Kathryn even slid down into some brush trying to follow a line that Iz and Sophie were light enough to walk, but we weren't. There were a few spots where if you slipped, you could slide a long way before tumbling down solid granite. It was a little nerve wracking.

Up and over.

It was getting dark when we got back to the car. Kathryn walks faster when it's getting dark :) I had to get her to slow down a couple of times. Ugh.

I think it did me some good. All night I had a fever, and even had the shakes for a while, but today I feel pretty good. No stiffness, not much pain. The bruises are starting to show up though. They ought to look pretty cool in a couple of days.

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