It was a beautiful winter day in Atlanta, and I was faced with a myriad of alternatives to spend the day. I opted for a trip to Mount Arabia, and it took me only half an hour to arrive at the visitor centre. Two friendly ladies were all too happy to help me out; I obtained a map of the trails, and headed for Arabia Lake first. Walking through forest first, I passed an open area with exposed rocky surface, and I could not resist but walk on it. I saw colourful mosses, and barren trees, before I took to the main trail again. It did not take long before I reached Arabia Lake, a mirror suspended between the trees on all sides. On my left, the granite field was always there, until I entered the forest again on my way to the main, paved biking trail.
By now, I realized that the area of Mount Arabia preserve is not very big, and I calculated that I could walk to the western side of the preserve, and make it back to Mount Arabia itself before the sun would set. So, I took the Boomerang trail, and then the Cascade trail which took me close to Polebridge Creek. I could hear the water rushing down from afar, and walked close to the banks of the creek for the best views. I reached Evans Mills Road, but turned directly into the forest again on the paved trail, taking a left at the Wilburn Farm trail that took me walking on fallen brown leaves through a forest that seemed devoid of anyone. Yes, there were birds in the sky, and the occasional squirrel dashing into the trees as I approached them, but otherwise, I did not see anyone. After passing some open fields, and a farm and the ruins of a building, I reached a small lake surrounded by trees. The lack of leaves in the trees caused a strong reflection of the sunlight on the water. I heard shooting; I was now quite close to a shooting range of the police - I had seen signs before warning not to enter the fenced off area to the north.
But I headed south again, followed the road, until I reached Klondike Road; the trailhead for Arabia Mountain was now close. Soon after starting the trail, the surface is exposed again: grey granite which made walking easy. Cairns point the way, but any visitor is clearly wanted beforehand to only walk on the granite, and not on the fragile plants. After walking through a patch of granite surrounded by trees, I walked through a few more trees before reaching Arabia Mountain proper. Following the cairns, I did see the dimorpha for which Arabia Mountain is famous: I had seen great pictures of the red plants. But they flower in spring, and were white now - I will have to come back for that. I found plenty of small pits and ponds with plants and water, and passed a few trees on my way to the top. Here, I found some larger ponds, and after hours of hiking, I decided it was time for a short break. The sun was shining constantly, but while sitting still, I felt the wind, and cooled down to a point where I continued hiking to get warm again. I hiked down straight to Klondike road, followed the trail, and then entered the forest again to the Mile Rock trail which led me past a granite quarry. Some slabs of granite were still lying there; I wondered if they would ever be used? A small pond surrounded by trees is supposed to have frogs and snakes, but both species were apparently asleep. Continuing my way, I ended up at Arabia Lake again, and the last stretch through the forest was basically retracing my own steps of the morning. I returned totally satisfied with the varied landscapes I had seen in just a couple of hours hiking.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Mount Arabia Nature Preserve (U.S.A.). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Mount Arabia Nature Preserve.
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