Stone Mountain SP

Left her hitched with roof down until after the “severe weather threat” was over.

P.S. there was literally no severe weather. There was a breeze. Maybe you could call it a severe breeze.

Note to future self: You do actually care about your anniversary; plan for not having it on a travel day next year. Note to current self: Way to regroup! It ended up being a perfect anniversary day, as long as we just pretend the 26th was Tuesday. Note to past self: You spend way too much time worrying about the weather.

Richard biking Traphill road to the campground

Weather has been a theme with travel this summer. I think this is a combination of weather related events actually getting more severe due to climate change, and weather apps getting more accurate with predictions. But not 100% accurate. We have spent a lot of time in the weather app equivalent of doom scrolling. What would that be called? Tornado worrying? Hail angsting? Whatever it is called, I don’t know that it is helping. We have yet to actually change our behavior due to weather forecasts, and besides rain, which could not have been avoided, we haven’t actually gotten hit by horrible weather yet. One thing I will say is that we are tending to want to do travel days as early in the day as possible so as to avoid potential severe weather in the afternoons. This factored into a tough push to get to our next destination via highways on our anniversary. It left both of us without the proper romantic energy reserves by the time we got there.

Cute and funky Stone Mountain Country Store

So we did a do over the next day. Instead of getting passed by trucks going way too fast, we did the Stone Mountain Loop trail and followed with ice cream. Much, much better.

Stone Mountain

I wanted to come to this park because it had been the location for an “Altogather” (Altoistes rally) several years ago. It was also a nice looking place in between Asheville and our next “campground” (are you getting nervous Jack and Lee?). We would have electric and water hookups here, so no stress on that level, just the odd tornado warning is all.

Stone Mountain Falls

The main event in this park is the mountain itself. You can drive to a parking lot that is walking distance to the bottom, or you can do the longish loop trail. Either way, the view is quite striking. It is a very striking, sheer face of rock, all black and rusty streaked from years of rain washing it smooth, rising up out of the lushness of the surrounding mountains. There are rivers and waterfalls to be seen, but lots of wooden and stone stairs to get to them.

Hutchinson Homestead

At the bottom of the loop, or just up from the parking area if you drive it, there is a preserved cluster of buildings from what used to be a vibrant community. We see these in lots of places where the state or park systems have bought up the land from early settlers. This particular display commemorates the Hutchinson Family and has informational kiosks explaining the buildings and what daily life was like back then.

So many steps

We did the trail clockwise, and I would recommend going that way. You will have to climb and descend wooden staircases no matter what you do, but in this direction, I think there are lots more stairs to go up. I am not a fan of sustained descending via staircase, because knees. The top of the loop brought us to the summit, where we saw berries everywhere. Maybe blackberries and wild blueberries?

Water snake!

We got cut off from seeing the Lower Falls because the trail was pretty well submerged. That might be a temporary thing due to recent rains. We were ok missing that one. It ended up being either a 6.5 mile trail, or an 8.8 mile trail, depending on whose Strava data you want to trust. I actually believe it was the lesser value, but was happy to accept the extra calorie bonus anyway. That bought me well over the calories needed to go into town and get a mint chip scoop at the Stone Mountain Country Store. Cute store with local arts and crafts for sale, as well as an eclectic collection of old timey camping goods.

More beautiful Rhododendrons

It was finally hot enough for me to grill outside and that was super fun. I made a steak panzanella salad and sipped an icy margarita while cooking. After dinner, we walked to the trash cans and tried to catch fireflies.

Happy Anniversary!

It was a perfect, perfect anniversary. Even if it wasn’t technically the right day. Next year, I will make sure not to plan a travel day on the 26th. We did good though. Marriage intact, even after parenting, remodeling, and traveling. We’ve weathered the Big 3 and are still here. Still sweeties.

Total miles from Asheville: 144.5, 18.8, 4 hours 37 min. Site B71, electric and water. Just enough cell service for texts and email, maybe facebook. Not enough for uploading. Good dump but preferred to fill water at the site. Cute Visitor Center with wifi.

2 thoughts on “Stone Mountain SP

  1. Alissa, Your write up brought back memories of me climbing those stairs. A nice hike. Dee

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