Myself, HF member Arn, and another buddy, Rick, completed our weekend hangout at Stone Mountain today. It was our first time to this park, and we had a wonderful time.
We arrived Friday morning around 11 am and found our way to the backpacking sites check in and parking lot. After paying our 18$ for two nights, we headed out on the 1.4 mile trail to Site A. All the campsites were completely empty except for a family that was leaving that day from site B. We decided on site A after watching NCPatricks video, and because it was the closest, in case my knee gave me any problems.
The campsites felt very remote, even though you arent that far from your car. We setup camp, played in the ice cold Widow's Creek water (tons of Crayfish there), and laid around in the hammocks all day Friday.
Saturday morning we all got up late.. around 9 am, we had slept 10 hours in our hammocks! I never did that in a tent before. It was our buddy Ricks first night in is hammock and he was very happy that he had converted. Arn and I recently talked him into buying a Hennesy because it is compact, and we felt a perfect match for Rick. It didn't disappoint.
We got up and hiked to, and took pictures of all 6 campsites. Although we all forgot our cameras, we took cell phone pics. I will post them in the morning. They arent that bad of a quality. According to our GPS's we had hiked a grand total of 4.5 to 5 miles just going to see all the sites and backtracking, etc. My knee held up pretty good but I could tell it was time to rest it when we finished. We were supposed to be hiking the Uhwarrie Trail this weekend, but due to my injury, chose the shorter hikes of Stone Mountain. When we got back from our little day hike, we all got into the waterfall at site A and just relaxed in the ice cold water. It felt great!
Saturday night was great. Although I got a little sick from eating too much at lunch, I got over it quickly after a nap and some tums. We ate dinner, told some funny stories and laughed our a$$es off.We went bed around 11. While they slept, I watched a movie on my ipod and relaxed. I couldn't believe how dark it was Saturday night. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face. It actually got a little chilly also. My watch said it was 61 degrees when we went to bed, but at 1am when my movie finished it actually said 58 degrees! It was a nice night. I passed out around 1 and didn't budge until 9am. Didn't even wake up one time.
It was a fantastic trip. Couldn't have went better. I loved sleeping so much in my Eno and the park is gorgeous. We did use a bear bag but luckily didn't see any. We did see deer that aren't scared of humans at all.
We checked out all of the sites so we could report to HF what we thought about each one. Remember, we are not pros, we are just weekend warriors, this is just our collective take on each site.
Site A is the closest, about 1.4 miles from the parking lot. Very easy access, looks pretty heavily used. It sas its own waterfall and is surrounded on all three sides by widows creek, which we filtered water from all weekend. It was actually great tasting water and didnt have that creeky taste at all. Lots of trees for hammocks.
Site B was very beautiful. Very green with a creek running through the middle of it on a steep hillside. I will likely choose this site when I go back. Lots of trees. I think it is the prettiest.
Site C is just a little up the same trail as site B. It is a big site with two fire rings. It is back off the trail a ways so it offers pretty good privacy. I dont remember seeing a water source but I may be wrong. Lots of trees for hangers.
Site D Was at the very top of the mountain. There is one trail from site A that leads to B C D in that order and one trail that leads from site A to site E F, in that order. The entire trail leading to sites B C D is entirely uphill. It is 1.5 miles to site D from A, but 3.0 from the parking lot, and is a heart pumper. The trail to sites E F has one big hill but isnt that big of a deal. Site D seems kinda small, has a small fire ring and no water source. I personally don't think I would enjoy it, but someone who packs in all their water and likes complete solidarity would enjoy it. Plenty of hanging opportunities here also.
Site E sits right across the bridge that crosses Widows creek and is right on the water. Has a nice fire ring and looks like would be a great tent site. There really isnt a good place for more that one hammock in this site. I really like the site and the creek is pretty wide here, but 2 hammockers would be cramped.
Site F is at the very end of the trail that leads to sites E F. It is a pretty good ways from any other site and would definitely offer good privacy. It sits in a horseshoe of the creek like site A. This site is very flat and has alot of room. When we were there saturday, there was a little trash from the previous tenants and some clothesline still strung between the trees. Lots of rocks here to use for sitting, eating, etc. I think I still like B better, but its a cool site.
This is my first experience at Stone Mountain and I hope it helps someone planning a a trip there. I had a great time and would definitely recommend it to anyone! Pictures to come tomorrow!