Georgia On My Mind

I've been traveling a lot lately. Just after Christmas, I went "home" for the first time in thee years to visit with family and friends in Georgia, where I grew up. Like the majority of holiday/family vacations, this one consisted mostly of toddler/food/family/visiting craziness.

Toddler. Sand. Nuff said.

Cuteness alert

In the midst of all of it, I managed to carve a few hours out for some solitude, taking half a day for myself to revisit old haunts on Kennesaw Mountain.

At 1,808 feet in elevation, the boulder-strewn, woodsy slopes of Kennesaw Mountain are in my childhood backyard. I wasn't much of a hiker growing up (really at all, if I'm being completely honest), and I fondly remember the trails of Kennesaw being tortuously steep as a fifth grade kid forced to climb them on various Girl Scout outings.

Weird to think that the area, newly surrounded by half-million dollar homes with backyards directly adjacent to many trails, is now a national park.

Starting at the visitor center, I carved out a roughly ten mile jaunt down to Cheatham Hill, finishing the hike with a climb up Pigeon Hill, Little Kennesaw, and finally the summit itself before completing the loop. Surrounded by red Georgia clay and barren woods, I felt like I was in Walking Dead territory most of the day.

the final leg of my day, up Pigeon Hill to the summit

I took away an appreciation for the area I didn't have before...the history of the Civil War battles, complete with preserved earthworks and cannons still evident on the hillsides. The park itself also affords wonderful trail-running and hiking opportunities in an area otherwise horribly overrun by suburban sprawl. It was a nice change of pace and a new outlook on the area I grew up in.

deep woods, deep trail past Burnt Hickory. Walking Dead territory.

Pigeon Hill. This place holds both fond & torturous memories for me

winter woods, nearing the summit of Kennesaw

Completely different from my somewhat-solitary-day-in-the-woods, Mom and I took an afternoon to visit the massive Georgia Aquarium before I returned to Portland. Between elbowing the crowds, watching a dolphin show and oggling exhibits, it took us about five hours to walk through the place.

It was like a Hollywood viewing of Finding Nemo. Plus whale sharks.

school o' fish

I speak whale

swimmin' with the jellies


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