Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stone Mountain Hike (Part II)

After I got to the summit and took some photos, I picked out a nice shady spot under some pines and sat down to eat some lunch and relax. By then it was about one in the afternoon. The weather was pleasant and there was a nice breeze blowing across the mountaintop. The sky was bright blue and scoured with huge clouds. There were no bugs, and only some ravens and a huge flock of Turkey buzzards were plying the thermals.

I've been on a vegetarian diet now for most of the past month. So I got out my lunch of almonds, Indian flatbread, and fresh water. As I sat and enjoyed my meal I scanned the top of the peak and picked out some good places to take photographs and decided whether I'd continue on the entire loop or turn around and backtrack to my truck. My plan had been to turn back if my knee acted up, but except from some soreness it was doing okay. So I decided that after I took some photos I would head on over the mountain to Stone Mountain Falls and do the entire loop hike.

One thing that I was aware of was that the weeks of recuperation have left my leg muscles in a sad state. For the first time in memory my legs felt weak. It has been many, many years since my thighs and calves didn't feel up to the task of taking me over a trail, up and down the mountainsides. Hopefully I can start hiking again and get my muscles back into shape.

This was my view from my lunch spot.

A self portrait standing in one of the erosion gullies that head down toward the event horizon of the cliff face.

The view looking back up the peak from a shallow gully.

Some of these temporary pools were full of tiny critters. Not sure what they were, but they didn't seem to be insect larvae. Perhaps one of those types of brine shrimp that come and go with the water?

Water in its task of wearing the mountain down and sending it off toward the sea.

I love the patterns water makes on the granite.

An old husk of a tree.

Another panorama from farther down the mountain.

I took this self-portrait to illustrate the steepness of the mountaintop.

Rambling around on the exposed rock. A great way to spend the day!

The classic view of Stone Mountain from one of the sub-peaks.

These grass and scrub oak forests grow on the very, very thin soil along the ridge of Stone Mountain.

I encounter old chimneys all through the park. I wonder how many homesteads were on the lands that make up Stone Mountain State Park. So far, I've found about a half dozen of these on and off trail. I'm sure there are more that I haven't seen yet.

(Later, Part III of the hike....)


Jack said...

I've only been to Stone Mountain SP once time. I need to get back for another visit!

HemlockMan said...

I need to go back sometime in the next few months to see the other other two major falls in the park. I've only seen them once and wasn't able to get any photos at all due to lousy conditions. I was going to hit them Sunday but my legs were so weak I opted not to add two miles to the hike.

It's a very good park.