Friday, July 27, 2012

Stone Mountain

Over the weekend in Atlanta, I decided, upon suggestions from colleagues, to make a trip to Stone Mountain State Park.  Since I like nature, hiking an basically some physical activities, it was a good idea!  So on Saturday, I started the train+taxi ride into Stone Mountain State Park.

The day started slightly gloomy with slight drizzle while I was making my way to the Park.

Upon arrival, my room was not ready, so I decided to take a walk around the Park.  Nothing too strenous, or so I thought!

The hotel was conveniently located right in the middle of the Park with easy access to all th points of interest.  Marriott-Stone Mountain Inn is the hotel, and upon arrival they gave me a free 1-day Adventure Pass!  Not that I really needed it but it was handy cos I actually took 2 rides free out of it.

So I decided to walk the 5-mile nature hike while waiting, thinking that it was just a smooth walk in the forest.. So flip flops was alright.  Well I was wrong.  15mins into the walk, it led to stone/rock faces and uphill hike.  Well, I was already there and nothing much else to do, so I perservered.  And lo and behold, it started to rain!  Great!  So I decided to wait out under the cover of the trees.  A little help, not much.

Steep rock face which I walked in flip flops

When the rain started to slow down, I continued on, and very soon I was at the junction of the walk up Stone Mountain.  Well, that was when it really started to pour!! And I had to make my way down mid-hill to seek shelter.  That delayed me for about 30mins. 

And, the sun came out!  Really hot and mightly!  And I decided, well let's just hike up Stone Mountain.  Unplanned for that moment but well since I was already there, might as well!

So with my flip flops and sling bag, I walked up.  It was not tough, just that morale of the story - flip flops are not the best footwear for climbing up.  Yes, you can do it, but not the best option.

And it was VERY HOT!  Sun was sorching down and burning my skin a little...

And I made it up to the top in one piece!  Though drenched in sweat... But the view is amazing!

Was about to walk down, when the sky started clouding again.. And I thought "No way, don't want to be caught in the rain again"  So since I have the 1-day pass, I opted for the skyride!  Short ride but nice view.

I had another hour to spare before I can check into my room, so I wandered around the maingrounds.  Stone Mountain State Park is more for families or groups of friends, cos the activities are oriented around groups rather than individuals.  Like those adventure ropes, or mini gold, it would look/feel weird if you go ahead on your own.  So I didn't, though I had free pass.  But I took the train ride which goes round the Stone Mountain.  Well it's actually a piece of really huge granite rock.

Finally got to check into my room, rest a bit, slap on more sun screen and headed out for another walk towards the lake.

Then at 930pm, it was time for the laser show!  It was alright.  First few minutes was pretty ok, with pop music..then it got patriotic, which features of american history, national songs etc etc.. Which I'm sorry to say I cannot appreciate.  So I left early to sleep and get ready for another early morning start the next day.

Mission for the 2nd day is to complete te 5-mile hike!  This time, I strapped on my sports shoes!

And it was a lot of slippery rock hills/faces to hike through.  Luckily I didn't do it the day before with my flip flops..  But it was a good hike!  Exercise, what I needed!  But it was a really hot hot day! 

 Attempted to plank... Not easy when timer is set to just 10 sec

Exhausted from the heat after the hike I packed my bags and headed out of stone mountain.  Decided to take the bus to the train station, which involved a 2 mile walk out of the Park to the Stone Mountain Village.  Stupidly, I started walking the opposite direction for 15min before realizing I was going the wrong way!  Had to turn back, re-walked the 15min + another 2 mile.... Geez... But finally made it out and away from the park.

Fun times... And great workout!!