Score another one for the magnetic personality of Stone Mountain: I had just finished a fine loop hike of just under 6 miles on the Blackjack Ridge and Wolf Rock trails. I sat on the grass near the base of Stone Mountain, eating my lunch and trying to listen to reason, which saw no practical advantage in one more hike to the top of the huge granite dome.
Listen to reason, or listen to the rock?
I went with the rock. The Stone Mountain Loop hike was only another 3.5 miles and 1,000 feet of ascent. The skies were as blue as they get on this side of the United States, the temperature was in the mid-70s. The park was crowded, for sure, but why wouldn’t it be on a day like this?
I’ve developed a crackpot theory that massive expanses of exposed rock create their own gravity, and somehow the human subconscious responds to the rock’s gravitational pull. Our susceptibility to the attraction (some might say seduction) determines our urge to get out there amongst the mountains.
Utter rot, no doubt, but I have no better explanation.
I also ran into Chris Berrier, who joined me on a hike at Panthertown Valley this past summer. This are his Nikes in the first picture that shows up on my homepage. Here’s his EveryTrail trip from Sunday.
OK, let’s see my pix from Sunday:
I got to the park early enough for decent morning light — this is a shot of Hutchinson Homestead, where a family lived for generations.
I’d never been to the base of Stone Mountain at this time of day with this light; first time I noticed this huge crack in the stone face. (Proof of the adage that you never hike the same trail twice.)
Just beyond the Hutchinson Homestead area, the trail splits, with an option to check out the Cedar Rock or Blackjack Ridge trails. I hadn’t done Blackjack Ridge, so I checked it out. Nothing sensational, but it was very quiet and peaceful.
Eventually the trail returns to Cedar Rock, which looks out over Stone Mountain.
I wondered if adding my hiking boots to the frame would somehow humanize all that rock.
Puddles are always productive sources of pictures.
From Wolf Rock you can see the fall colors coming in — you can just barely see the colors at the top of the ridge at the highest elevations.
We simply don’t get the flaming reds and oranges that redecorate the Northeast every autumn, but I prefer the diversity of hues/shades we get in the Southeast. The pictures might not be as sexy, but the experience is richer.
Can’t resist visiting this busted-up old cabin near Wolf Rock.
Pine cone on a tree that had fallen across Wolf Rock Trail.
Another view of Stone Mountain that I had not seen before.
Stone Mountain Falls was especially attractive.
Lots and lots o’ steps on the wood walkway.
View from the top of Stone Mountain Falls.
View from the top of Stone Mountain. Awesome as always.
First time I noticed the summit marker up here.
Reflection on the back window of my car in the parking lot.
I reckon that’s enough for this week.
How are the fall colors shaping up in your part of the world? Fill us in and link to picture in the comments if you’ve got ‘em.
Links for this hike:
- EveryTrail GPS tracks.
- EveryTrail Guide: Stone Mountain Loop
- North Carolina State Parks page for Stone Mountain State Park
- All my Stone Mountain hikes
- Park map (PDF download)
Google map for this hike
View 10-16-11 Stone Mountain State Park in a larger map