About Me

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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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stone Mountain Walk

It's been a while since I've written about any of my workouts. There was almost always something interesting to write about when I was running. I've been spending a lot of time on a stationary bike, watching movies and Star Trek episodes to pass the time, which makes it a little difficult to find anything interesting to report.

This morning, I took a long walk at Stone Mountain Park. It's hard to believe I've lived in Atlanta for nearly 10 years and haven't visited the park. Shame on me! There are several paid attractions that don't hold any interest for me. You can visit the website for that. I was just there for the trails. My new neighborhood isn't the best place for walking. I figured that if I'm going to have to drive to a good walking area, it might as well be a place with bathrooms. My friend, Greg Luffey, is an ultra-runner living in New Mexico. He loves to run in wild places. I'm not sure you could pay him enough to live in a city. Still, if you forced him to live in Atlanta, I suspect he would enjoy running up, down, and all around Stone Mountain Park.

What a great place to walk! According to the website, Stone Mountain Park has 15 miles of trails, so I guess I walked about 1/3 of the trails that were available. Also, the bike path I used to walk from downtown Decatur connects with Stone Mountain. If I ever feel like going for an extremely long walk, I can add a detour to Decatur…8 miles to downtown Decatur and 8 miles back!

My 4.7 mile trek was enough for today. I just recovered from a cold, so I'm not at full strength, and the trail I chose would have challenged me even if I was at 100%. I began walking the sidewalk around the perimeter. I walked about a mile before I found the Cherokee Trail. It started off easy enough, but the next thing I knew, I was climbing over Stone Mountain, scrambling over granite. What was originally a clearly marked path was now a mountain goat trail. The only thing that kept me pointed in the right direction was a series of white hashmarks that highlighted the trail. My walking pace was a respectable 15:30 per mile while I was walking the easy trails. I sometimes slowed to 25:00 per mile as I was picking my way across the granite. The pace was slow, but my heart sure was pumping. I've read that trail runners are wise to ignore their pace and just keep track of the total time spent running. Now I see why. When I looked at my Garmin and saw that my 25:00 pace, I could only laugh.

Stone Mountain as I saw it this morning.
What goes up must come down. My pace quickened once I was heading downhill, but my quads were shaky. I'm used to walking up and down steep hills, but scrambling is a different story. Eventually, I came off the granite face and was back onto a more traditional trail. Ah! I passed through the main feature of Stone Mountain, a gigantic, mountain sized carving of Confederate generals that is the central part of what as billed as the world's longest running laser light show. I'll have to come back some time and catch the show out of morbid curiosity.

Stone Mountain, all lit up.
After passing the South's answer to Mount Rushmore, I was back on the Cherokee Trail, and it wasn't long before I found myself back on the perimeter sidewalk. I didn't realize how much cooler it was under the trees until I was back on the sunny sidewalk. My original plan was to follow the Cherokee Trail and then take the Walk Up Trail – one mile straight up and back down. My legs were still wobbly from scrambling over the granite face, so I decided to pack it in. I could have hiked up the mountain fairly easily at the start of my walk, but not at the end. My challenge will be to build up enough strength to take the same walk I took today, and then add the Walk Up Trail at the end. Another masochistic challenge would be to climb up and down multiple times…probably start with two summits, and then add more as I get stronger.

I bought an annual parking pass. It was a no brainer. It costs $10 to park for a single day, and $35 for the entire year. I plan on hitting Stone Mountain Park at least once a week. It'll give me a break from the stationary bike and give me something to look forward to. I'm already planning my next route.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention Tom. I remember visiting Stone Mt as a youth and think we saw the laser show. Too long ago to remember. Glad you are back out on the trail.

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