Tuesday, January 19, 2016

An Opposing Mountain View of the Concrete Jungle

For as much as I seem to tear down the concrete jungle (ie: Atlanta) it's important to look at the focus of this post; the concrete jungle.

One of the primary places you hear people say to go if they visit Atlanta is Stone Mountain, and rightfully so. Just thirty'ish minutes outside of the city, Stone Mountain is something everyone should see. An impressive massive rock formation which offers easy access to hiking, cycling and golfing. Having lived in Atlanta a few years, I have taken part often in the aforementioned activities.

The hike up Stone Mountain is gradual and then steep for the later half. It offers a unique view of 'the cities within the cities' as I like to call it, that make up Atlanta:

Overlook from a top Stone Mountain. Focus your eyes, or get a magnified glass and you can see Kennesaw Mountain over to the far right. 
On a clear day with no smog from the thousands of people sitting in traffic, the view atop Stone Mountain offers a great view of tree's, concrete structures formed into buildings, and the not so distant mountains; one of which is Kennesaw Mountain.

I had Monday off from work, which should be noted takes place in a concrete building filled with hundreds of other people like myself who elect to look at a computer screen for the majority of their day, so I decided to check out Kennesaw Mountain. For some reason, this was my first trip to Kennesaw Mountain which is a similar distance in the opposite direction of Stone Mountain and rises up from the Marietta/Kennesaw landscape.

 You really could not ask for better hiking conditions in my opinion, low 30's and clear blue skies. The start to the primary hike known as Pigeon Loop Trail takes you up switchbacks to the summit for some odd 1,800 feet. It felt like a  hike through history as the park stories many of the Civil War battles fought here and it's neighboring sister mountain, Little Kennesaw Mountain:

Both Stone Mountain and Kennesaw Mountain offer a unique historical perspective. Kennesaw Mountain feels like a walk through history as it  stories the many Civil War battles fought here. 

The remainder of the full loop takes you across Kennesaw Mountain and carries moderate switch backs over Little Kennesaw Mountain. The full duel mountain loop carries about six miles; I elected to backtrack at the three mile marker as the remainder of the hike stretching back to the visitor center carries the lower third of the mountain and looked flat.

On the treck back, I looked down from a top of Kennesaw Mountain and took in a unique perspective of it's city cross neighbor mountain, Stone Mountain:

The D750 offers a unique perspective of a distant view of Stone Mountain, as seen from Kennesaw Mountain caught between two trees.

It was interesting to look at the comparative similarities between both mountains. First and foremost, both mountains lie a short drive in opposite directions outside the concrete jungle. If you happen to live in Atlanta, and want a solid day hike without a long drive, these are both great options. They both offer vertical incline  that you can't get anywhere else within a 45 minute proximity to the city.  Both mountains also carry a historical perspective. One of the first things you probably see entering Stone Mountain is confederate soldiers carved into the mountain which highlight the three Confederate hero's from the Civil War. The span of the sculpture stands larger than Mount Rushmore. Kennesaw Mountain highlights it's historical significance with signs and detailed markers acknowledging the battles that took place there. Atlanta does a find job of paying tribute to the historical land markers that formed the city into what it is today.

My primary takeaway was that you can climb one mountain and peer out to the other. While it's not the Rockies or the Tetons, both hikes offer an uphill climb and a easy opportunity to get outside and take in a new perspective.

 Should you move to Atlanta for these mountains? Absolutely not, if that's your take away you missed the point here. If you happen to be in Atlanta and want to take in some history and climb a hill, then these are the places to go.  If you time it right, you might be able to not sit in traffic on the way there, though I wouldn't put money on that.

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