One of our family traditions is a hike to the summit of Stone Mountain. We make the pilgrimage each year. While it is not a traditional mountain in the sense that it’s not a part of a mountain range, it is quite a hike nonetheless.
Stone Mountain is a giant granite rock, a standalone mountain protruding high above the surrounding areas. The girls look forward to the trip each year. We get up early; we fill the backpack with cold drinks and snacks. As we begin our ascent through the forest, we talk about previous trips. It is amazing that you may remember a specific tree or a rock that you saw on your last journey. We stop for a photo op in the same locations. It’s fun to look back and see the tiny girls next to the same tree now that they are teenagers.
The halfway point is marked by a pole that is covered with chewing gum. It sounds kind of weird, but climbers of all ages stop at the pole each year and add their mark to the pole. It is some sort of status symbol.
When you reach the tree line, there is a picnic area with breathtaking vistas. Just like a trip in the family sedan when the girls were young, they would constantly say, “are we there yet, are we there yet?” Now they say, “we are almost there; I can’t wait!” We take a break at the picnic area and enjoy the gorgeous view, the lush foliage, and the sounds of nature as we prepare to embark on our journey above the tree line.
As you begin to crest the summit of the granite rock, you can feel the steady breeze flow across the top of the mountain. The girls can’t wait to break out their cameras for stunning views of the city in the distance and the dots below representing the people on the ground. We will sit on a rock and just talk forever about this trip and journeys in the past.
Hiking is a family tradition that has been passed on for generations in our family. As children, we hiked the nature trails at the campgrounds we frequented. Today, our family will do the same. In fact, when Grandma and Grandpa were younger, they would hike Brasstown Bald with our girls. The entire troop was on hand for these trips, including the girl’s great aunt and uncle. Shots from these trips made the family album, including photos of plants that can only be found on Brasstown Bald, the highest point in the state.
The lesson learned is a hike with the family has multiple benefits. You will get some exercise, you will create life-lasting memories, and you have time to relax and reflect on the joy of your family life. Not to be too cliché, but on your hike, you will take the time to stop and smell the roses.