September 25, 2016

Arabia Mountain is Other Worldly

Yellow Daisies at Arabia Mountain
Yellow daisies at Arabia Mountain
I had scheduled a beach trip for the September full moon, but my trip got rained out, and I really don't have a go-to place to shoot the moon in the Atlanta area. Although, that's something I've been wanting to find, but more often than not, it seems to either rain or be extremely cloudy on our full-moon nights.

The best night to shoot the moon is actually the night before when the sky is brighter, but I had already made other plans for that night. Two nights before was really clear, and I really wanted to go somewhere. I had heard about the daisies at Arabia Mountain and since I've never been there, I decided to give it a shot. I checked online and saw there is a lake next to the mountain, and I thought that could be a scenic location with the moon.

Cairns on Arabia Mountain
Cairns on the granite trail.
At the start of the trail was a map showing me where I was, but as I stepped on to the "trail," I had to wonder where it was. There was nothing but solid rock as far as I could see. I noticed these columns, about 3 or 4 feet tall, made of rocks that were spaced about fifty feet apart, and I figured those must be markers of some sort. I have since done a little more research and learned those are called cairns and they are indeed trail markers.

Water hole reflection at Arabia Mountain
No, this is not the lake.
I walked a little ways, but I wasn't seeing any indication that I was getting near the lake. I was expecting it to be an open area, but it wasn't, so I just couldn't tell. Then I saw two ladies coming towards me, so I asked them. Thank you to those ladies, whoever you were, because I do not believe I would have figured it out. They explained about the blue markers that would lead me to the lake and how I'd need to watch for them because some of them would be on the actual trail and some would be on a tree off to the side.

Sun flare at Arabia Mountain
It's the obligatory sun flare.
It wasn't too far, but once I made it to the lake and saw how there was no clear view to it, I decided not to go any farther. Also, I had forgotten my flashlight, and I was worried that if I went too far, I may not be able to find my way back. As I was backtracking and studying the mountain, that I had seen on my way to the lake, I noticed how easily people were hiking to the top. I pondered this for a few minutes and decided I should check it out. After all, I'd be up high enough that maybe I'd see the moon over all of those trees.

Full moon at Arabia Mountain
Almost full moon peeking through the trees.
It only took a couple of minutes to get to the top and there was the moon. It was already too high to get it in frame with any of the lone trees on top, but it was a great vantage point for this. I'll definitely be going back. Several people were getting situated for the sunset, and I wondered if I should hang out, too. I was still worried about finding my way back to my car, but it was a full moon, and I was already more than half way back, so I took a chance.

Sunset flare on Arabia Mountain
Sunset flare on Arabia Mountain.
It wasn't the most colorful sunset, but I enjoyed it anyway, and now I know a good place to go for moon rises, sunsets, and probably sunrises. I'll definitely be going back and checking out the other trail areas. I also want to go to Panola Mountain, just down the road.

I will also be wearing my hiking boots next time. On this part of the trail and even going up the mountain didn't have many obstacles to walk over, but walking on nothing but solid rock really killed my feet in my regular sneakers. So that's my tip to you as well, wear shoes with lots of cushiony support.

Have you been to Arabia Mountain? What part of the trail do you like? 
Do you like Panola Mountain?

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