Stone Mountain has two smaller siblings, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain, all granite outcroppings called monadnocks. I’ve been to Panola a few times, including my most recent trip last year. To get to hike on the mountain itself, you must have a guide. While Panola is nowhere near as large or high as Stone Mountain, the flatter dome and lower traffic mean it is more natural with more solution pits growing blankets of small red flowers called diamorpha. Arabia Mountain, which I visited a few years ago, is smaller still with very little elevation, but less protected than Panola. However the area around Arabia Mountain has grown into an interesting collection of parks with paved bike trails running through it built by PATH. When I got the day off for Veterans Day this year, it was fairly warm, so I thought I would take Bella for a hike. Sweetwater and the Chattahoochee areas are pretty far away, so I thought we could go out to Arabia which also has miles of foot trails. We went to the Davidson Arabia Mountain Nature Center. There were a few cars parked there and we saw a few people on the trail. Part of the trail is over exposed granite where they used to quarry granite (hard to tell; there aren’t giant quarry pits like you would expect), and part was along a bike path, and part on a path along a creek and lake. It made for an interesting 3-mile hike and Bella enjoyed getting to stand in the creek. One offshoot trail was to a gravesite of some former residents of the area.
Yesterday was another decent day, so we drove out to a different spot, the Evans Mill Trailhead, and did a little bit longer hike from there, mostly through the woods, but some along the bike trail, and some through an old farm that I guess is abandoned though there is definitely stuff going on. Even though it was a Saturday and I was expecting it to be more crowded than the trip the previous Friday, we saw no one else on any of the trails until the very end as I was leaving and some people came out with their dogs. We also saw a deer cross the bike trail (Bella really like that but it was pretty far away) and I realized the bike trail is better for spotting wildlife in some ways because you can see a long way up and down the straight and cleared path and also you make a lot less noise walking than in the leaves on the footpaths.