Friday, September 16, 2011

Stone Mountain Hike (Part III)

After I spent a long and relaxing time on the summit area of Stone Mountain I headed off toward Stone Mountain Falls which is on the far side of the mountain's ridge line. Strolling along I was impressed once again with the changes in the trail since I last hiked here. It occurred to me that all of this work must have been accomplished with at least some aid from vehicles--at least pickup trucks. So the wider trails obviously serve as roadbeds for trucks from time to time. Fortunately, I've never encountered park vehicles on these trails, and I hope I never do.

Because my legs are still so weak from my weeks of inactivity due to the surgery, the hike to the falls seemed much longer than it did. My memories of the hike kept telling me that I should be at the falls when in fact I still had a fair distance to travel. When I finally did arrive at the top of Stone Mountain Falls, I found the biggest crowds of the day. Which is appropriate, since the falls are easy to access via a picnic area trailhead.

If you've never been, Stone Mountain Falls are a neat sight. It's not so much a waterfall as an enormous sliding cascade. Still, it's a dangerous place and more than a few idiots have died here mucking about on the slick surface of the falls. There is no shortage of stupid people, so I'm sure there will be more such stories in the years to come.

After I looked at the falls and took a few photos I headed on down. I dislike crowds, especially when I'm on a hike. This is my time (supposedly) for solitude, so the sounds of screeching people gets on my nerves pretty quickly. So in short order I was ready to complete the loop, pausing along the way to take photographs of whatever piqued my interest.

One more great photo of the soaring Turkey vultures.

The top of the Falls.

Here was Stone Mountain Falls--a stitched panorama.

The Falls from the bottom, with many humans.

This cool little shelf is about 1/4 mile from the base of the falls.

The well maintained trail leading toward the homestead display.

I like this little scene in the streambed.

Reminders of the power of Mr. Gravity and Frau Wasser.

Where I always have to stop to create a panorama of the face of Stone Mountain.

This is called "The Great Arch" and is one of the more popular rock climbing routes on the cliff face. If I ever learn to rock climb, this is where I'll go to take lessons.

The cliff face of Stone Mountain, North Carolina.

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