Stone Mountain has become like a gigantic gym for me with a $35 a year membership fee (parking pass). Once a week (twice if my schedule is free), I like to go to Stone Mountain and tromp around. There are two different kinds of hikes that I enjoy. The main attraction for hikers seems to be the Walk Up Trail, which is a one mile hike straight up Stone Mountain. There are also plenty of trails that go around Stone Mountain. Sometimes I enjoy the physical challenge of the Walk Up Trail, and sometimes I enjoy a longer hike through the woods.
Today I took a longer hike. I walked five miles around Stone Mountain, mostly sticking to the Cherokee Trail. After one circumnavigation, I turned around and retraced my steps for a total of 10 miles. It was an eventful walk, with plenty of nature moments.
It began to rain during the first section of the hike. It was so steamy that my glasses soon fogged up. I'm extremely nearsighted, but I was better off carrying my glasses. I'm glad I was familiar with this trail, because it a blurry two miles before the sun came out and evaporated the moisture from my glasses. Oddly enough, it didn't appear to have rained at all on the north side of the mountain. That ground was bone dry.
On the return trip, I came across a rather large deer. We stared at each other for a few seconds before she bounded away. After reaching the south side of the mountain, I got rained on again…twice. At least it wasn't enough to fog up my glasses again. Aside from the annoyance of foggy glasses, I didn't mind the rain. In face, it felt wonderful, like I was walking through a lawn sprinkler on a hot day.
Aside from my nature moments, I'm also thrilled that I appear to be able to run again. For now, I'm sticking mainly with walking the trails, with an occasional stretch of running (well, trotting). The trail is much easier on my knees than the hard road, and the tricky footing helps keep me from over striding. I've read that running on tricky terrain is also a good way to strengthen the ankles and all the other joints that support running and walking. I'll eventually increase the percentage of time I spend running versus walking, but, to play it smart, I plan to mix running with walking from now on.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.