Monthly Archives: January 2017

Hiking On Arabia Mountain

Part of a massive belt of an ancient gneiss, the Arabia Mountain looks like Georgia’s Stone Mountain except that it’s formed earlier than the latter of about 350 million years. This is a national heritage mountain nature preserve which is located east of the City of Atlanta. Once at the area’s south parking lot find the split rail fence on the east end then head to a kiosk where Arabia Alliance’s one-page map is located. A downloadable format can be found online which you can put on your phone for a more convenient access when you’re at the site.

Since the mountain trail is mostly made of rock structures, most of the pathways are paved and solid. The lower portion of the trail are lined with pine trees and where some trail marks of carefully piled stones are circularly formed. And just a bit of FYI, on the USGS maps, Arabia Mountain is marked as Bradley Mountain. The path is level from the start with several tiny dimples on the ground caused by rainwater pooling on the rock formation’s curves. Turning right, some lined cairns guide you through a pine forest where the trail switches left about 0.2 miles onwards.

Arriving into a moist section, climb up to the top of Bradley Mountain where an informative sign tells you about the red moss seasonal growth. Approximately the climb will take 140 feet wherein halfway on this trail takes you to a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the whole area. Expect normal sightings of vultures circling the air or perhaps some cooper and red-shouldered hawks hovering around. At the peak of the trail, the South River can be spotted where a major river valley is nestled.

The earliest settlers of this area are American Indians where remnants from these villages are found. A couple more villages have been found before just within the 2,000 acre parameter of the heritage area which includes the Woodland Indian Era and the Creek Indian sites.

Looking downward, you will find a rock trail lined with trees on each sides which guide you to a small wooded hiking path. Alternately to locate this, just head for the tree line and turn right and search for the sign that guides you towards that wooded portion. Then you’ll reach a crossroad where one leads you to Klondike Road and another to an old quarry operation. Once you’ve visited the two sub destinations, you may return to the four-way intersection and move forward to the base of Arabia and Bradley Mountains. Around 20 to 30 feet through the tree line, there is a visible private lake which serves as a landmark if you refer back to the map. Take time to visit the top of the Bradley Mountain but take extra precaution and always stay near the safety cairns.

Hiking In The Mohawk Trail State Forest

In Northwestern Massachusetts in The Berkshire Mountain Range Lies Mohawk Trail State Forest. A beautiful 6,500 acre wilderness preserve with lush hardwoods, deep ravines and its historic Indian Hiking Trail.

The signature Hiking trail of the park The Indian Trail can be rather difficult due to some steep inclines. The trail is has mountains ascents on either end which is something novice hikers should take note of. The trail itself is framed in beautiful witch hazel and mountain laurel. Although not well marked the trail itself is so well traveled that visitors should have little problem sticking to the main passage.

To find the trail, head north from the parking area along the park road. You will know you are getting close when you pass a designated camping area, closer still when you climb a natural stone outcrop stairway until you hit a T-junction. This junction is the official Indian Trail. To the left lies Clark Mountain to the right Todd Mountain.

The eastern portion of the trail towards Todd Mountain is the more difficult stretch of the trail as it includes a serious ascent. As you head easterly and begin to ascend be wary of wet stone covered in leaves as it is notoriously slippery. As you reach the summit of Mount Todd at roughly 1,700 feet an opportunity presents itself to enjoy easterly and southerly vista of both woodland and rural Massachusetts valleys.

If you head west from the T-junction your trail is a bit more mild. Gentle rolling hills and enjoyable mountain laurel guide your path. Just a few hundred feet in west of the junction is a nice view of the Cold River. As you approach Clark Mountain your one way journey is about over. When you reach a pair of stone foundations obscured by overgrowth travelers may wish to designate this area to turn back. Although the trail does continue for a little ways further it ends abruptly and unceremoniously in an empty field. Having visited both mountains and returned the hiker will have traveled a robust four and a half miles.

Although not as historic or well traveled as The Indian Trail to the southeast you will find Thumper Mountain Trail. Thumper Mountain Trail offers a few nice advantages, first it is camp-side adjacent and easily accessible. Secondly it offers true ‘loop hiking’ which many find more rewarding. At about a half mile round trip in length this is a rather ideal trail for families hiking or camping in the area that have younger children. Although there is a mild ascent the trail itself is quite forgiving.

A very easy to find trail-head starts where the campground road ends and is even denoted by a wooden post. Begin the gentle ascent to the top of Thumper Mountain. This trail offers a little more hemlock and white pine then other trails in the area however there a not as many opportunities for unobstructed picture taking as tourists might like so take them where you can. At the summit you will find a pleasant south-southwesterly view of Cold River.

Hiking The Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail

This historic trail takes 2.4 miles to complete and this mountain was called by the American Indians as the Lone Mountain while the settles call it Rock Fort Mountain. In 1560, the Spanish explorers also visited this place and called it as Crystal Mountain due to the quartz found around the vicinity. In 1958 the place was purchased by the state and turned this into a protected area. The start of the trail is at the Confederate Hall on the left side of the railroad crossing. An exhibit at the hall includes the geological and environmental information of the Stone Mountain and the history of the Civil War.

From the Confederate Hall at the Stone Mountain Park, cross the railroad tracks right past the rest rooms on the right. The pathway then makes a gradual ascent to the top of the mountain. The pathway comes to a level path but never downhill. Go straight ahead as the pathway passes the trail marker of Stone Mountain Loop Trail or also known as the Cherokee Trail at around 0.3 of a mile in this rock path.

Hike straight ahead as you pass by a picnic area where at a pavilion nearby you will what remains to be of a barbecue grill. From here moving forward, the road climbs the steepest section of the trail. Continue following the pathway as you approach the Cherokee Trail wherein there is an engraved plaque marking the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. Proceed further as you will pass by Bubble Gum Rock where gum eating visitors leave their chewing gums here.

At this point you will be amazed by the beautiful scenes that nature can afford. Now continue to curve left as the trail approaches some metal support structures drilled to the mountains. Climb up to the peak as you pass by a spring with clusters of red moss thriving in it. Once you have reached the top of the mountain you will see the Skylift dock and a museum. Nearby, you will find a yellow painted rock with and arrow and the word Atlanta on it. This served as a guide for airplane navigators coming from the northeast in the early 1920’s which points toward the city.

The peak marks the end of the trail where you can now make a loop to return to the starting point. Follow a white line marker down the mountain to a road that then leads you to a protected and fenced habitat for fairy shrimps. Turn left as you move past this returning to where the parking area.

Finding the Right Pair of Hiking Boots

If you are looking for a quality pair of hiking boots that are both durable and comfortable and will last you a long time, then Danner’s Mountain Light boot is an excellent choice. Made in Portland, Oregon since 1979 by Danner’s expert craftsmen, the original Mountain Light boot is still thought to be one of the best overall hiking boots ever made. This esteemed reputation is in part due to Danner’s very high standards of craftsmanship and quality, a tradition they carry on to this day. The Mountain Light boots are still made with the same quality and attention to detail since their creation over 30 years ago. Like many of Danner’s boots, they are handmade in the USA by experienced men and women using time-honored techniques and traditions. The end result is a beautiful pair of boots that function as well as they look.

The high quality and durability of the Mountain Light boots is a result of the attention to detail and passion that goes into making them. Because every pair of boots is handmade and handcrafted, a large amount of time is spent in their creation. It all starts with the design process and goes through many steps for the end product. The details and materials used are varied but all serve a single purpose: to provide the wearer with the absolute best in technology and support. The Mountain Light boots are made with a full-grain, one-piece all-leather upper and feature a Gore-Tex liner that is both waterproof and breathable. Danner was the first company to use Gore-Tex technology in its hiking boots when it partnered with Gore & Associates in the 1970’s for its Mountain Light boots. By using a one-seam Gore-Tex liner in the Mountain Light boots, Danner offers the wearer complete waterproof protection.

The Mountain Light boots also feature Vibram Kletterlift outsoles, made to provide superior comfort, longevity, and give excellent traction and stability on wet and dry surfaces. The boots are built around Danner’s 650 last, which are more narrow than a normal last. This means the boots will have a more slender and snug fit, which is something to keep in mind when ordering them, especially if your feet are wider than normal. In general, I would recommend trying on the Mountain Light boots before buying them if possible, and ordering them in a size “EE” if your feet are wider than normal. Another important feature of the boots is their stitch down construction, which is done by hand. The stitch down process is time consuming and not used by most other boot companies, but it does provide better underfoot stability and makes the boots recraftable.

What does that mean if a pair of boots are recraftable, you might be asking? Well, if a pair of boots are recraftable- not all Danner boots are recraftable but they do specify which ones are- then you can send them to Danner’s facility in Portland, Oregon and have certain components of the boots replaced or repaired. It is a great service that Danner offers, and one that can make an old pair of boots almost new. Overall, the Mountain Light Boots by Danner are an all-round, quality, durable, comfortable pair of boots that I would highly recommend to anyone. They may not be the lightest pair of hiking boots, but what they lack for in weight they more than make up for in comfort and longevity.

Table Mountain Nature Trails And Hikes

Table Mountain offers some amazing walks for all levels of fitness. The stunning views from the top of the maintain looking over the Cape Peninsula; make the arduous walk up the mountain worth the effort. The top of the mountain is relatively flat and easy to walk.

Some of the popular routes are sign posted and easy to navigate, however, I would recommend purchasing a map (they are not expensive and are available through Cape Nature Conservation and outdoor/ hiking shops). This gives you the freedom to explore and not get lost. The condition of the paths are excellent and well trodden. The Table Mountain Reserve gives free access to the paths around the mountain in the Cape Town vicinity. Unwind from the stress at the office by taking a short walk along its slopes and enjoying the sunset. Cell phone reception is available from curtain points looking over the City of Cape Town.

Tourists visiting Cape Town might enjoy the Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail. This is the best hiking trail I have done. It is a great way to enjoy Cape Town and Table Mountain while staying over-night in well-kept facilities. It is a guided and portered, 2 or 3 day trail. If you have never been to Cape Town before, this is a great way to enjoy Table Mountain.

Our group found the guides well trained and happy to share their intimate knowledge and history of the area. The accommodation is luxurious by hiking standards. Comfortable beds and quality linen is supplied. Mouth-watering catered meals are prepared at the overnight houses, allowing one to enjoy Cape Town and Table Mountain without any worries.

The Table Mountain Trail starts at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and meanders through the City of Cape Town, highlighting the cultural and historic attractions. Then the trail heads up the mountain where one can enjoy the Fynbos (fine bush), birdlife and awesome views. There are three reservoirs on top the mountain and the trail visits the museum emphasising their history. The last day finishes off in the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens. The guides have radios and are prepared for any emergency.

A great way to see the trails around the mountain is through Google Earth. It shows the mountain and its position in relation to Cape Town. Check/ tic the Hiking Trails layer under T4A Roads, in Tracks4Africa, found in the Gallery Layers option of Google Earth. The co-ordinates of Table Mountain are : Latitude 33°57’26.61″S and Longitude 18°24’11.53″E. There is also a great Wikipedea reference from these co-ordinates.

Last note. Table Mountain needs to be respected as a wilderness mountain area. It is recommended to hike in a group and let someone know the route you will be hiking. The weather can become unpredictable at times. Prepare and pack for the worst. I have hiked over this mountain many times and in different conditions, enjoying it every time.