Last weekend, Brian’s parents came for a visit, so we took the opportunity to spend some time outdoors in the post-snowpocalypse 60-70 degree Atlanta weather. [My skin is HATING the crazy up-and-down Atlanta weather we are having!] They love national parks and taking walks/hikes, so we did a little research on some outdoorsy places we could take them in Atlanta. Besides the park right in our neighborhood, and an occasional trip to Piedmont Park, we haven’t really ventured into the “Greater Atlanta Outdoors” since we’ve been back in Atlanta, so it was time.
Obviously Stone Mountain came to mind, but they don’t allow dogs on the mountain, and of course Louie was not about to miss out on all the fun, so that wasn’t an option. A little Google-searching later, we stumbled upon the very exotic sounding Arabia Mountain and the well-known Kennesaw Mountain (which is in fact a U.S. National Park) – both very dog-friendly and under 30 minutes from our house – SOLD.
On day 1, we grabbed sandwiches to go from our favorite Star Provisions, and headed to Arabia (the mountain people) . Their website is really well done, and has lots of pretty pictures of fauna and flora and all that jazz, but given that we are in the middle of winter, we weren’t really expecting to see much. We had a nice picnic lunch at the park, before making our way over to hike up the actual “mountain.” [I am putting mountain in quotes because this particular mountain is less than 1,000 ft high, so not sure that really counts…] We walked about a mile on a very nice wooden path to the base of the mountain, and I was pleasantly surprised at how understatedly (apparently understatedly is not a word, oh well!) pretty Arabia was. There were patches of light greenish-blue lichen everywhere and little spots of red diamorpha that were just starting to bloom (apparently they are known for the stuff in the late winter, who knew!). The mountain itself is also a prettier granite than Stone Mountain, with some nice reds, oranges and browns in the stone. There were a few patches of snow/ice left over from the snowstorm as well, which added a nice touch.
We made it to the top and snapped some photos (the big girl camera got some use) and just took in the surroundings. It was very peaceful and there weren’t a lot of people around which was nice. Louie thoroughly enjoyed running around and taking sips of water from all the little ponds that had formed from the melted snow. Fingers crossed he didn’t pick up anything from drinking out of those things – gross!
The biggest downside of Arabia is that they only have one DISGUSTING port-a-potty at the park entrance, so make a pit stop at the McDonald’s before you get there or else that’s your only option and it isn’t pretty. Bring your own hand sanitizer too.
On day 2 of their visit, it was even nicer out (think shorts-weather), so we took a drive up to Kennesaw Mountain, after grabbing a yummy lunch at the Atlanta Food Truck Park on Howell Mill. The Mountain was packed with people, dogs, babies – it seemed like everyone in Atlanta had the same idea we did to enjoy the warm day. We chose to walk up the paved path that was closed to cars, but there was a little shuttle that could take you to the top if you didn’t want to trek. The mountain is quite a bit higher than Arabia at 1,800 feet high, and you could definitely tell. We were all a bit winded by the time we got to the top (gotta get back to Chaos…), but we stopped every so often on the way up to take in the views of Atlanta, Buckhead and the surrounding areas. It was such a clear day that we could see the city pretty well for being about 25+ miles away. The next time we go back ourselves, Brian and I might try one of the other paths that is a little more rustic (I mean who doesn’t like rustic?), because the paved car path didn’t really do it for me, but the views from the top were totally worth it.
Thank goodness the bathroom situation was much more legit. Because it’s a national park, there are very clean bathrooms and running water. Kennesaw definitely wins for cleanliness. However, of course Louie decided to do his business right when we started up, so I made Brian pick it up. I mean, we’d see a trash can on the way up and be done with it, right? Well, not quite. There are NO trash cans the entire walk up the paved part pf the mountain, so Brian got to hold a nice smelly baggy all the way up and was none too pleased. Whoops!
Both mountains were very different and have their pros and cons, but both are perfect for getting out of the city for the afternoon in under 30 minutes.
Are there any other mountains in the metro-Atlanta area we should check out? Points for dog-friendly!