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Wild Child

Journey through the great outdoors

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Most days, you're an office rat. You breathe in recycled air and fumes, with your butt sagging on your office chair. Despite your daily ascents up Mount Soulsuck Stairwell, you spend your 9-to-5s dreaming of rocky mountains towering over a lake reflecting a crystal blue sky. You miss the great outdoors. Perhaps you stop by the gym to run abso-fucking-lutely nowhere on the "hill climb" treadmill workout. But inside, yeah, you're still a wild child with sticks in your hair and dirt in your toes, aren't you? Come on, let me hear you roar! You're a panther, a howler monkey, an unusually fierce ermine. OK, stop - people are staring. Here's CL's itinerary to soothe your savage spirit.

SATURDAY

8 a.m.: Grab a bag of trail mix at Sevananda Natural Foods Market in Little Five Points. Actually, grab two or three bags. You'll need it this weekend. Munch in the car.

9 a.m.: Try your hand at geocaching (a high-tech game of hide-and-seek played outside using GPS satellite receivers). The Georgia Geocachers Association can get you started. (The group holds meetings at N 33º 49.215 W 084º ... well, you get the idea.) Go to www.geocaching.com, type in your ZIP code, and get a list of coordinates, instructions and riddles for geocaches near you. Then go outside and start hunting for the little treasures (think souvenir coins, CDs, etc.) that your fellow urban bushfolk have hidden in greenspaces around town.

Noon: Time to eat. If you really want to stay in character, you could trap some squirrels, or dine on roots and grubs. Otherwise, stop by the Bread Garden in Amsterdam Walk for a sandwich and other fixings and hike into Piedmont Park for a quick picnic.

1:30-8 p.m.: Don't wear any clothes you'll mind getting torn by thorns, soaked in a river, and steeped in ... whatever that bubbling sludge is up ahead. The Atlanta Hash House Harriers and Harrettes are a "drinking club with a running problem." Harriers are foul-mouthed, politically incorrect, depraved - and proud of it. Hike along the convoluted flour trail sprinkled through the woods by the designated "hare." At the end, everyone drinks beer, swears, farts and sees what they can get the hash virgins (that would be you) to do. Then, the group goes to a nearby pub for drinks and dinner.

SUNDAY

9 a.m.: Imagine you're in the jungle as you walk past the parrots and other birds outside R. Thomas Deluxe Grill. Inside, you'll find hearty whole-food breakfasts that will keep your muscles firing all day. Pair your meal with a Mojo JoJo smoothie.

10 a.m.: For a quick escape, hike along the nine miles of trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park, which includes picturesque ruins of an old mill that burned down during the Civil War. Then, feed the ducks, rent a canoe, or go fishing.

1 p.m.: Let's eat some live food. (Relax, this isn't a "Fear Factor" challenge involving cockroaches and worms.) The carrots and nuts won't scream at Lush Life Café, a vegan and live food restaurant in southwest Atlanta. Food here has been spared the usual torments of boiling water and searing pan. (Try the popular beet nut loaf.)

2-5 p.m.: Though plenty of Bible Belters still deny it, a wild child like you knows we're only recently descended from the trees. Well, climb a tree, you simian savage! Tree Climbers International offers two obliging trees named Nimrod and Diana for you to scale with rock-climbing equipment (after signing a liability waiver, of course). If you get hooked, come back for an overnight tree sleep.

7 p.m.: Wild child, you're going to need an extra-long shower before you re-enter the matrix. Go home, order a pizza (the grease will numb the urge to live off the land and grow a beard/stop shaving your legs). If there's a full moon, howl quietly out the window before you go to bed.

NEXT WEEK

Attend a meeting of the Dogwood City Grotto at REI of Atlanta and discover the local caving action. The group offers training, trips, conservation programs, and two publications, The Hole Story and Georgia Underground, to help you plan a caving adventure. Remember: In a cave, even your BlackBerry can't call you back to the office.

JUST THE FACTS

ATLANTA HASH HOUSE HARRIERS AND HARRETTES meet at a different location every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. $6, usually waived for virgins. 770-455-6952. www.atlantahash.com.

BREAD GARDEN 549 Amsterdam Ave. 404-875-1166.

DOGWOOD CITY GROTTO meets the first Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., at REI of Atlanta, 1800 Northeast Expressway. www.dcg-nss.org.

GEORGIA GEOCACHERS ASSOCIATION offers organized geocaching events. www.ggaonline.org. (For coordinates of geocaches near you, visit www.geocaching.com.)

LUSH LIFE CAF 1405 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. 404-758-8737. www.fyicomminc.com/lushlifecafe.

R. THOMAS DELUXE GRILL 1812 Peachtree St. 404-872-2942. www.rthomasdeluxegrill.com.

SEVANANDA NATURAL FOODS MARKET 467 Moreland Ave. 404-681-2831. www.sevananda.com.

SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK is located off Mount Vernon Road in Lithia Springs. 770-732-5871. http://gastateparks.org/info/sweetwater.

TREE CLIMBERS INTERNATIONAL Beginner's climbs offered first and third Sundays of every month, 2-5 p.m. $12. Group climbs and overnight tree sleeps also available. 290 Arizona Ave. 404-377-3150. www.treeclimbing.com.

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