Crowder’s Mountain (361st new thing).

January 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

I almost hiked up Crowder’s Mountain just outside Charlotte, NC on Day 111, but opted to smoke a salmon instead. However, when Day Three Hundred Sixty-One came around, my mom and I bundled all our doodles (two labradoodles and a schnoodle) into the car and made the hike fo’ realz.

I couldn’t remember where we had briefly parked to ascend the mountain earlier in this project, so we ended up on a whole new path. There were two ways up the slope: a treacherous woodland path riddled with gnarled tree roots waiting to trip us and the gravel road that seemed gentle enough for a nice stroll. We opted for the gravel path.

Deceptively sloping

Deceptively sloping

The path turned out to be a long uphill march. Apparently I wasn’t as fit as I thought. If the gravel road was tiring, how would we have fared on the narrow twisted slope?

A view from the side of the mountain.

A view from the side of the mountain.

After thirty minutes or so at a good pace, we neared the summit of the mountain. We walked through a twisted path as one of the dogs strained toward a family with their own pup just ahead. We branched off to the edge of a rock and rested while taking in a few spectacular views.

Panorama from the top.

Panorama from the top.

The requisite "selfie" to mark our place and time.

The requisite “selfie” to mark our place and time.

Once the heights became worrisome and the dogs restless, we decided to explore the are a little more and followed a path to the other side of the peak where other hikers lounged along the rocks and clearings. I took more pictures.

Another panorama from the other side of the mountain.

Another panorama from the other side of the mountain.

A gnarled path of treachery. Also quite pretty.

A gnarled path of treachery. Also quite pretty.

We debated making our way back down via the triple black diamond path, but instead opted for the known road of gravel, just in case someone’s knees might go out on the way down. Easier access for the ambulance and all. We made it down without any broken limbs or minor injuries, although my legs were slightly jellied from the bracing against a pulling pooch.

Next visit I may have to try another path up Crowder’s Mountain.



Atlanta Prison Farm (250th new thing).

January 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

There’s this area of land not too far from my house which is owned by the City of Atlanta, but is in essence a wilderness. Like FOUR HUNDRED acres of uncultivated fields and woods and ponds interspersed with winding paths and trodden trails. This area was formerly the home of a prison, abandoned now and covered with the signs of time passing (mostly kudzu). While some urban adventurers wander alone onto the grounds, we joined a tour led by Scott Petersen who is trying to raise awareness about the area and who hopes the green space can be turned into something worthwhile. Patrick and I met a small group on a Sunday morning tour of the area on Day Two Hundred Fifty. Please follow the group and find out more about the Atlanta Prison Farm through their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Scott talking about the preservation effort

A grassy path

Murphy enjoyed our hike

Following the trail

Broken tiles infested with asbestos, something to steer clear of

One of the calm lakes

An HDR Lake View

Bright winter colors

Lake panaroma

Dried up creek bed, deer nearby

The prison grounds

Kudzu Couch

Emergency carbohydrates

Candy fills the tins

Marble from the defunct Carnegie Library

In a field of forgotten marble...

A Haunting path

Day Four. Hiking the Other Stone Mountain.

March 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

On day four, I planned to do something with my dog. I decided on Arabia Mountain State Park, touted as Stone Mountain without the cheese. No rides, no trains, just a whole lotta granite.

We started on the first marked path at a suggestion of a co-worker of mine who visits often. The marked trails are noted by a little pylons of stones built up. Very unobtrusive, and it kind of felt like a scavenger hunt. The mountain itself is just a mass expanse of granite, similar to Stone Mountain, but not as elevated and much less touristy. I think we only saw a few people when we walked up.

Long walk up

Long walk up

One of the most striking elements of Mount Arabia is the expanse of bright red patches in little pools and divots. A most informative sign told us this was called Diamorpha and it is quite fragile. I immediately regretted carelessly traipsing over this weird beauty of a plant. Closeup it looked almost alien-like, strange pods of Valentines colors sprouting from a vine. From afar, it was quite lovely.


Diamorpha Close-Up

We made it to the top of the main granite hill in no time. The distance was less than half that up Stone Mountain, and the views were equally as spectacular, without all the fences and skylift obstructions.


My original idea was to take my little map and kind of wander until I found my way back to some semblance of a trail. There were only two main marked trails, and several lines indicating unmarked ones, ones I hoped were at least easily identifiable. We ended up walking in a sort of series of loops before we found what looked to be one of the unmarked paths, but could very well have been a drying up creek based on the amount of water pooling down its spine.

Former Granite Quarry

We got lost and found our way back (clarification: I got us lost), returning to the parking via a newly constructed bridge path. I think I was most impressed with Murphy on the journey. Although not technically permitted, we let him off leash during the trek across deserted granite and he did quite well. We even let him lead for a bit, which is probably how we found the trail and ended our loops.

Lost on the pebbles

Matching Nerds on the Summit

Matching on the Summit

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