Sunday the wife and I went for a walk in the afternoon on Kennesaw Mountain while the kids did homework. Great place for a local walk. It is very popular and we had to park on old route 41 (which added about 1/2 mile roundtrip). The trailmap below shows the loop from the park headquarters.
This is an excellent practice loop for Philmont – probably the best one in the Atlanta area – especially if you start by going up the steep path to the top. It is about a 700 foot climb in a little bit more than a mile, which is close to as steep as it gets at Philmont. If you can do that without being too winded, then (other than the thin air) you should have no real troubles. In fact we met a crew practicing (I forgot to get their unit – but it was probably a venture crew as there were young women as well as young men with packs). They had taken the easier way around, and I don’t blame them as it would be a hard warm up with out practicing (though with just our daypacks and going the other way we made better time). Considering the loads I saw, I really appreciated the idea of light-weight packing – my daypack was probably 1/2 the base load I could get to.
The trail is well manicured for the first mile or so, and we fairly rapidly passed the crowds who where catching their breath near the top. This isn’t to say that we didn’t pause for breath ourselves, but it was no where near steep enough for a rest-step. Once past the cannon on the top of Kennesaw mountain the path descends steeply before climbing (almost as steeply) up Little Kennesaw mountain. Just before the battle, the confederates cut a road and hauled cannon up this mountain, and there is a small battery at fort McBride up there in memory of it. At this time of year the confederate trenches are clearly visible. The rocky and slightly rough trail then wraps around Little Kennesaw mountain before heading off to Pigeon hill. We took a shunt path down to the return trail which is wide, flat and uneventful. Other than the first mile or so, the trail is fairly empty (for an urban area that is), but shows clear signs of heavy use – but fortunately not much litter and people seem to be keeping to the path which minimizes their impact.