atlanta, canoe restaurant, civil war, confederates, hiking, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, photography, Pigeon Hill, postaweek, Renaissance Waverly Hotel, summary, travel, union, wedding
April 12, 2014
This weekend I made a quick trip to Atlanta for my cousin’s wedding. I arrived late on Friday and left Sunday morning, so I only got to enjoy one day, but it was action packed and fun!
I started out the morning using my coupon at the R cafe in the hotel lobby for a cup of Starbucks. Actually, it qualified me for two tall coffees, but I only wanted one. The nice lady at the cafe really wanted me to have both cups of coffee.
“You get two,” she said as I handed her the coupon.
“That’s OK, I only want one,” I responded.
As she pushes the coupon back to me, “She says but you can come back later.”
“I just want one small coffee, thanks,” I said.
“Well, do you want one bigger cup?” she asked.
Finally, I said, “I’ll just take two cups of coffee.”
The guy next to me started laughing as she decided to give me one large one and told me to keep the coupon for tomorrow too.
I replied, “That’s OK, I have another coupon.”
“But you need the coupon to get coffee tomorrow,” she replies.
“Yes, I have one, thanks.”
Whew! Getting coffee was harder than my 750 meter swim. I’ve decided to train for an Olympic Triathlon. I’m just starting out, and swimming is proving difficult! But I had a particularly good swim in the hotel’s warm, indoor pool with a little algae growing on the sides.
I took a short drive from the Renaissance Waverly Hotel to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, home to a Civil War Battle. I wanted to go on a five mile hike. The ranger in the Visitor Center suggested with hesitancy, a loop that included climbing up and over the Kennesaw Mountain, over Little Kennesaw Mountain to Pigeon Hill, and then following a path around the mountain back to the park’s main entrance. What she didn’t like about the hike, however, was the steepness.
“What I don’t like about the trail is it goes straight up and straight down,” she said.
She almost had me convinced not to do it and do visit another part of the very long park, when she said, “But it’s doable.”
I really didn’t want to drive to the other part of the park as the place was packed. I almost didn’t even get a parking spot in the overflow lot. So I turned left out of the visitor’s center and tried my luck. I followed the well groomed trail beneath blooming trees about one mile to the peak. As I climbed, I reminded myself the populated areas of National Parks generally are not that hard. I didn’t find this trail that difficult, but then again, perhaps I’m used to the steepness and altitude of the Rockies.
I wasn’t quite used to the humidity and broke a sweat almost immediately. It was a relatively cool day for Georgia though, so shorts and a T-shirt were perfect me. I would have boiling had I been in long sleeves, sweats, pants, and double shirts like many of my fellow hikers. It’s amazing how the body adjusts to the places one lives!
The peak of the mountain featured four canons replicating the Confederates defense position as they fought the General Sherman’s Union Army. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain took place on June 27, 1864 after Johnston’s soldiers retreated from several battles to the north beginning May 9th: Rocky Face, Resaca, Pickett’s Mill, New Hope Church, and Dallas. Sherman’s forces continued encroaching until they reached Atlanta. The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, exasperated with Johnston’s retreats, relieved him of his duties, and placed General Hood in command. It was too late, however, and the Union troops occupied Atlanta by September 2nd leading to the end of the war.
Having previously mentioned hiking up the mountain was not terribly hard, I will say, if I had a canon in tow, it would have been a different story. The only Canon I had in tow was a digital Elph! The mountain peak provided a smoggy view of Atlanta. I could hardly see the high rises. I’m not sure if the area is always this smoggy or if it was due to fire nearby.
After reaching the peak, I hopped over the rocky trail and stopped to snap photos of the sporadic pink, purple, yellow, and red wildflowers. During my slow pace, a few young ladies were slowly catching up to me. It wouldn’t have bothered me too much, except one girl with a shrill-like voice jabbered incessantly about her friend’s cancer, pet scan’s, and good and bad doctor’s. I somewhat wondered if she really wanted me to know about her friend’s illness. I finally stopped and let them pass. In fact, I heard lots of interesting conversations on my walk. I’ll sum them up with there were a variety of folks on the trail today!
On my way to Pigeon Hill I passed by trenches dug by the Confederates, some groups resting half-way up the trail from the grueling hike thus far, a few cutoff trails, a cute green lizard, and a guy with a shirt that said, “I bust mine, so I can kick yours”. Upon reaching Pigeon Hill, I realized I was supposed to take one of those cutoff trails, so back I went up the mountain! My misdirection only added a quarter mile to my hike, so it was no big deal.
The cutoff path was mostly, crossed a few creeks or spring and set me up perfectly for a two mile run. Off I went on a slow jog when I came upon four deer! In addition, to the deer, I passed by areas that were home to old barracks, tool sheds, and educational facilities for CCC during the depression. What a fun hike this became as it offered a little bit of everything.
I worked up an appetite and found a sports bar by the hotel called Jock’s and Jill’s. Surprisingly, they were holding a Dallas Cowboy event. Dwayne Harris, who rocks at punt returns and should be on the starting offense, as well as George Selvie were there signing autographs!
It was three o’clock and the fun had only just begun. It was time to get ready for my cousin’s wedding at Canoe, a restaurant with gardens on the shore of the Chattahoochee River. The atmosphere was lovely for the quaint wedding. We enjoyed a lovely sit down dinner and dancing after the bride and groom promised their love to each other. The weather was perfect…not too hot and no bugs! The lovebirds couldn’t have asked for a nicer day in Atlanta to tie the knot. Family from around the country joined in celebrating, and it was great. Here’s to Fontaine and Cassie! ETB