Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Stone Mountain

According to Wikipedia, Stone Mountain is a pluton. Basically it's a huge piece of rock that's sticking out of the earth. So naturally I had to to check it out. I once again tagged along on Mom's business trip and had a morning to kill so I trekked on down to Stone Mountain.

The first thing I noticed about Stone Mountain was that it was crazy confusing. I just wanted to hike to the top of the mountain, but for the life of me I could not find the right parking lot. I drove around for like 20 minutes, almost left the park on several occasions, and finally just picked a lot and left the car there.

Going on a breakfast of Diet Coke and beef jerky, I changed in the car (because I didn't go in my hiking clothes, don't ask me why) and started up the trail that I hoped would deposit me on the right trail. I came into a clearing that was just a massive stone walkway. Now, I've had some missteps on past hiking trips, so I wasn't going to take any chances and end up in Savannah. There was an old man behind me on the trail so I asked him to help a sister out. Little did I know that this was not your average 75-year old. This guy literally runs ultra marathons, like 112 miles all at once. He hikes Stone Mountain at least 4 times each week. I use the word 'hike' here loosely. He sort of sprints Stone Mountain. So he takes me under his wing, but in reality he almost killed me. He barely broke a sweat on the trail and I'm next to him trying to hide the fact that I'm all out dying. It had been chilly when I left the hotel so I threw a long-sleeved t-shirt into my bag. Bad decision. So on top of not being able to breathe because me and ultra-marathoner are moving at warp speed up this mountain, I am also boiling in my Hopkins shirt and full-length leggings. We finally get to the top, or so I thought. I stop to catch my breath and my new friend tells me that he's turning around but I've still got a quarter mile to the top. WHAT?! I'm not even there yet??

Part of me is relieved that he's turning around and I can now suffer privately. He failed to mention, however, that I had to scale the Cliffs of Insanity before I got to the top. This part of the mountain is steep enough and slippery enough that the parks crew have installed a stair railing for climbers to grasp onto as they face death (ok, that's dramatic, but I slipped several times and it was terrifying). I think, "No problem; I just ran up this mountain. This 100-foot stretch should be no problem." Wrong again, Angela. This was worse than keeping pace with Monsieur Marathoner. I was secretly hoping that Inigo Montoya would lower a rope down and pull me up. No such luck, however. To rub salt in the wound, the local track team came up behind me. Running. As I sit at the top of this tiny pitch gasping for sweet oxygen to enter my lungs, they casually keep going, ignoring the pitiful creature at their feet. Eventually my body remembers how to take in oxygen at a normal rate and I finish the climb.

All of my efforts were not in vain: At the top of Stone Mountain a music video is being filmed. I have no idea who the group is or what they are filming said video for, but it was a sight to behold. It was like watching S Club 7 perform before my eyes, complete with synchronized dance moves and perfectly mismatched outfits. My 12-year old self could not believe her luck.


I took some snaps at the top and headed down to explore the rest of the park. Stone Mountain has tons of walking and running trails. I picked one and began to walk, taking in nature and minding my own business. I was passed on a regular basis by bikers, runners, and more serious walkers. As I walked back to my car I came to the conclusion that I needed to up my game before I came back to Stone Mountain. These people are serious. So I finished my Diet Coke and went in search of donuts. And it was glorious.



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