Granite is but just one of the natural features that makes the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area so significant – as a small group of ProWIN members (and a four-legged friend) found out on the Members-Only Hike on October 17, 2020. The two-hour long outing proofed to be a leisurely, guided hike to the peak of Arabia mountain at 954ft., past Alexander lake, a former quarry, and back through the woods to the nature center. Greeted along the way by many wonderful sights, Arabia’s guide and park ranger, Robby Astrove entertained the hikers with tidbits of information about the exceptional, ecological wonders that presented themselves along the way.
The unique qualities of Lithonia granite, officially called Tidal Grey, is found at Arabia Mountain and at smaller, still-active quarries. It was desired for its distinctive swirl pattern and high structural density which made the stone attractive as a building material that you can still see today throughout some of Atlanta’s downtown buildings. The lunar-like landscape of Arabia Mountain is the most easily identified vista of the National Heritage Area and is part of a 2,550-acre DeKalb County nature preserve, which also includes other large formations of exposed granite, wetlands, pine and oak forests, multiple streams and two lakes. The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is filled with dozens of rare and vibrant species, including some plant species found almost nowhere else on earth.
Once each year a rare plant, Diamorpha, turns an eye-catching red before donning pure, white flowers. Although it is only a couple inches tall, this show-stopping plant blankets the mountain pools at Arabia with crimson. Robby fondly explains, “This is where the mountain gets to show off! Watching the metamorphosis from green to red to popping white blooms signals the rebirth of the mountain and is perhaps my favorite botanical explosion to witness.” At the top of the mountain, you’ll be treated to isolated pools in a sea of green lichens and moss. In the fall, the Mountain Daisy makes its show with brilliant waves of yellow. These are just some of the rare, natural wonders that surround Arabia Mountain. Turns out that the open-air hike is just what was needed to reconnect with nature and each other in the socially distanced and virtual world of 2020.
Special thanks to Paige Nathan, ProWIN’s VP of Events for planning the event, Pam Grossman with In The Present for keeping us safe with custom-designed face masks, and last, but never least, Donna Sebusch with Cookie Creations Of Atlanta for providing the perfect fall treat.
If you have any suggestions, for future member events, please feel free to contact Paige Nathan.