Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tackling some granite

As my friends and family know, I spend a lot of time at Stone Mountain Park. The park is less than five miles from my house, and in addition to being a great place to get outdoors, it is also a great place to enjoy a work-out "en plein air." My favorite way to get exercise there is by climbing (and then coming back down) the aptly named "Walk-Up Trail."

For anyone not familiar with it, the Walk-Up Trail is a roughly mile long hike from the base of the mountain to the top. There is one main route, but there are some options so you aren't forced to do the exact same thing every time. The elevation change from bottom to top is 786 feet, and the weather can be quite different at the top from that at the bottom. Now, we're not talking Everest-like differences, but the temperature and wind can vary quite a bit. Plus, on a cloudy day, you can easily go from being under overcast skies to being in low clouds.

In any case, for the past six months or so, I've been pushing myself to try to do the hike faster. I have managed to get it down to a pretty consistent 40 - 41 minutes, and can even push it down to 38 or 39 if I do a good deal of jogging coming down. This year, I'm challenging myself to get under 38 minutes, which I know will mean either jogging the whole way down (challenging due to the terrain in a few spots) or running some bits going up.

Sadly, the weather the past two weeks has not cooperated (and the days it finally did, I have worked from dawn to dusk or been otherwise committed). However, much to my surprise, I did manage a 38 minute round trip (probably closer to 39, but still 38-something) this past Thursday, just before the rains came. (Okay, not quite entirely just before the rains came, but close. I got lucky, really.) And I was able to get some more cool pictures.

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