Hike 3
Hike 3 -- May 23, 2010
My name is Mike -- Granddaddy. It was Sunday and hot in Marietta. We had the day watch and were working out
of my home on hiking detail. The boss was Deanna and my partner was Garrett. At 11:30 AM, we got a call to go
check out what was happening on top of Kennesaw Mountain.

After picking up Garrett at his home, we drove over to the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park .The park was
crowded -- people everywhere and the main road leading to the park was already filled with cars alongside the
road (meaning the parking lot was full) and if you have to park out here, you can add
almost a half mile to your hiking trip.

Anyway, we decided to take a quick trip to the parking lot and see if we might find a place. Luck was with us --  
we actually found a place to park in the parking lot by the Visitor Center and in the shade! A girl walking a dog saw
us pull into the parking lot and motioned for us to follow her.  Within minutes, she had loaded up her big dog into
her small SUV and was gone.  We pulled into the empty space and started getting our gear together.

As I mentioned earlier, it was HOT (already 92 degrees). I put 4 bottles of water into my back pack and we
were off. We saw a bus over by the Visitor Center and Garrett said he wanted to ride it up, then we would hike
back down. While he went to the bathroom, I found out from the bus driver that all trips by bus to the top of the
mountain were suspended -- the bus would not run right -- making funny noises. As I have mentioned on write ups
for earlier hikes here in the park, the climb up the mountain is tough (very steep) and just as hard coming down
(having to be in low gear and braking a lot).

Seeing our hopes of a easy way up the mountain evaporate in the hot air around us, we resigned ourselves to
walking up the road to the top. The road was crawling with people -- have never seen so many at one time hiking,
walking, and running on the road. Running -- not a joke --  "runners, joggers" LOVE the trails at Kennesaw. I do
lots of crazy things but running up and down mountains just hasn't made its way onto any my
"Lists of things I'd like to do before I die!"

There were lots of beautiful flowers blooming alongside the road and we enjoyed seeking them out. Some were
very small and there might be just one or two of them blooming. Sweating like devil, we stopped at several of
the roadside overlooks and enjoyed the views. Even though it was a blue sky clear day, it was hazy when you
looked out at great distances -- like downtown Atlanta (19 miles away to the Southeast) or the power plant
(Plant Bowen, largest coal-fired power plant in the world) 23 miles to the Northwest.  

By the time we got to the trail that comes down from the top of Kennesaw, crosses over the road, and then
heads over to Little Kennesaw Mountain, we were pooped -- the heat was sapping all of our energy. We sat down
on some rocks in the shade to rest a while but then realized that the base of the rocks (actually big boulders
placed on the side of the road to keep cars from going over the side) were crawling with fire ants so we made a
fast command decision to cut our break short and keep on walking up the road to the top
versus taking the hiking trail up to the top.

Did I mention that it was hot -- really hot?
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