Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Book Club Gals Strike...Er, Hike Again

Stone Mountain State Park – 1/2/10 – Stone Mtn Loop Trail/Wolf Rock Trail/Cedar Rock Trail/Stone Mtn Loop Trail – 4 Miles

No better way to start off the New Year than with a frosty hike! My book club pals (plus Ellen’s sis, Joan) were game for a trip to Stone Mountain State Park. After making sure that everyone had plenty of warm non-cotton clothing, we hopped in Joan’s van and headed north. We pretended not to be intimidated by the dropping temperature and smiled bravely as we pulled into the VC parking area – 22 degrees, not too windy, and blue skies! The Loop Trail was closed because of ice but they didn’t say nothin’ about Wolf Rock and Cedar Rock…so off we went.

 The steepness of Wolf Rock Trail can be daunting, but we needed the warmup and stopped a couple of times to shed layers. I told the group that I wanted them to be mad at me for being too warm, not for being too cold – I think it worked.

There was enough ice and snow on the trails to make us feel adventur- ous.

 An old rock wall on Wolf Rock Trail

I was rewarded with smiles and laughter at the top of Wolf Rock as all agreed the hard work was worth it. Nobody there but us book lovers and the grand view.

Joan, Kathy and Ellen and the tree that split Wolf Rock

Getting close to the edge yet?

Even the sunshine could not keep us warm for long, though, so we continued on our loop. My ears were covered with two layers and we were chattering away, when suddenly I felt rather than heard a noise, kind of a rumbling vibration. At the same time, the women in front of me all stopped, looking to the right with big eyes and open mouths. Can’t see anything…what did it sound like, ladies? They described a vocal animal sound, a large animal. Later Ellen found a website of animal sounds and sent out the one that most closely approximated it: a bear. How exciting! I had assured them that there were no bears in Stone Mountain State Park, especially not in winter. Ah well…

On Cedar Rock we paused again for photos with Stone Mountain as a backdrop, but again we could only swallow a few handfuls of gorp and keep moving. No leisurely lunch today! As long as we were moving we were warm and happy. We met other hikers down in the valley near the Hutchinson Homestead. After checking out the old buildings, we crossed the big bridge back to the Loop Trail.

Along this section is a large overhang with dangling icicles – a great photo op for Leida.

Back at the trailhead we congratulated ourselves on no falls and no injuries and then cranked up the heat in the car. We stopped at the little country store for hot chocolate, sitting around the table in mismatched wooden chairs talking about everything like women will do. As on our September outing, the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment was quite gratifying for everyone, including myself. Our hike was short on mileage but big on fellowship and I thoroughly enjoyed my day. Can’t wait to go out exploring with the book club ladies again!

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~Aristotle

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