Mark and I went to explore the mountain today. We decided to be really daring and buy a one-way ticket for the sky tram to the top of the mountain. There is a trail that people can take in either direction or both. We weren’t daring enough to try both!
Information about the aerial tramway. The upper terminal is at 1,672 feet above sea level; the lower terminal is at 956 feet above sea level. That would make the top of the mountain 716 feet above the ground.
Leaving the station at the bottom of the mountain
The monument to Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into the side of the mountain.
Here you can see the bas relief of the rock monument.
Approaching the tram station at the top
This was the “Christmas tree” we saw lighted up last night.
The view from the top was incredible!
This struck me as being a tribute to the will to live against all odds…a tree growing in granite at the top of a mountain!
Our tram headed back down. Time to start walking.
It looked like we were about to step off the edge.
Someone had left popcorn in this rock formation, and there were no birds or squirrels around to eat it.
It looks like you can see the curvature of the earth.
Follow the yellow line for the hiking trail.
People have been carving their names into this mountain for nearly two hundred years!
This part of the trail was so steep they put hand rails up.
Mark clowning around
After the steepest part of the descent, Mark and I stopped at this rest area and had some Gatorade and Hershey’s kisses with almonds for energy for the remainder of the descent.
We saw quite a few people coming up the mountain. Occasionally we saw people either running up or down it. There was one elderly pastor who said he walks up and down the mountain four times a week for exercise! At this point, we were only about a third of the way down.
This was our first view of fairly level ground ahead.
We saw a couple power poles with dots of something all over them. Turns out folks who started walking up from the bottom with gum in their mouths stuck it to these poles; perhaps a testament to how soon the flavor of the gum ran out.
First national flag
Second national flag
Third national flag
The American flag flew on a higher pole than the other four.
This plaque just commemorates the flag terrace put here by the United Daughters of the Confederacy – Georgia Division.
Mark on the UDC Confederate Flag Terrace
Can you see the white stripe running through the gray granite?
This explains it.
Apparently, due to plate tectonics, rocks pushing against each other under the earth’s surface heated up and became molten. As the magma began to cool and harden, small cracks formed. The magma inside seeped into the cracks and hardened more slowly, forming mineral crystals. That explains the white lines across the granite.
As for Stone Mountain itself, it formed under the crust of the earth as a large granite rock. It didn’t push up to the surface, but instead, the surface land eroded away from the huge rock.
We went into Confederate Hall when we came down off the mountain.
Here is a diorama of the area. The stripe through the trees on the long side of the mountain is the trail we climbed down. The thing that looks like a pretzel in the lower left corner is a sign that says, “You are here”. We still had another mile to walk to get back to our truck!
We needed a bit of time off our feet, so we went into the little theater in Confederate Hall to watch a movie about the Civil War and Sherman’s march to the sea. While we were watching, we saw the name, Captain W A Fuller. Could he be related to Mark?
Having finally rested up sufficiently, Mark and I made the mile hike back to the area where our truck was parked, but before we went to our truck, we decided to have a look around.
We looked up and the top of the mountain was gone. We were fortunate to have gone up when we did.
They are having Christmas shows on the weekends from now into early January.
This is the beginning of the Christmas Village.
I was watching the ground and saw this sign painted on the sidewalk.
I looked up.
Then I pointed it out to Mark. 😉
The shops and restaurants were all closed today…
…but we were still able to see inside some of them.
The Candy Kitchen…
…and its contents.
The toy store
.Then we came across a sight you’d only see in the south:
They were making snow!
Mountains of it!
Like two ships passing in the night
Georgia still has some autumn color on the first of December!
We had seen warning signs on the mountain that it was slippery when wet. We were so glad we had gotten down off it before the rain started.
One last picture of the lake in our campground before dusk.