Stone Mountain can be seen in history books, newspapers, and for miles around it. I grew up near Stone Mountain, but I had never climbed it. As a kid I was overweight and out of shape. Now I am just overweight, and I decided to go this morning when a friend invited me. I had always put it off because I was afraid I would slow down those with me or worse yet not be able to make it to the top at all.
The first bit of advice I can offer is to make sure you wear good shoes. Too many people approach this hike as a picnic. It’s not. I knew this in advance, and as such I wore sneakers. Even though I wore good shoes it would have been so easy to slip on a mossy rock or pine straw.
If you are asthmatic bring your inhaler. It is not a walk in the park, and even if you are in great shape you are likely going to need it. The atmosphere does change and the air gets thinner. In a related note, don’t feel bad if you have to stop and breath for a moment. There will be people around you who are running or jumping like they are the next American Ninja, but don’t let that influence you to be reckless.
The view at the top is unreal. It is hard to explain, but I will give it a shot. When you climb a regular mountain there is likely to be trees blocking views and you may not feel like you are at the peak depending on the size of the summit. There is no chance of that at Stone Mountain because the foliage at the apex is limited and you have a 360 view around you. Pictures are going to be a must, but you are not going to want to lug up a bunch of camera equipment.
There is something spiritual about this climb, which makes sense, considering there is an Easter Service held at the mountaintop every year. Embrace it, and enjoy it. I don’t think there are many place on earth that can give you that kind of feeling.
Before you go it is so important to drink plenty of water and eat a good breakfast that has both salt and potassium. Salt will help you retain the water you are drinking and potassium helps prevent cramps. I recommend bananas for the potassium. I wish I had eaten one this morning.
I saw so many people with very young children. I suppose that is a choice for the individual, but the hills are very steep in several areas and it would be terribly easy for a child to slip and fall. The real danger is that after the fall due to the steepness it would be very easy for a child to roll a long way before stopping. The first half of the mountain isn’t too bad though, so that area seems pretty kid friendly.
I had no idea it would be so glorious! That is not what I would have expected. I anticipated to be winded and sweaty and rather grumpy. Instead I was winded and only slightly sweaty thank to the wind at the summit. I also had a dopey smile plastered to my face. You have got to try it.