STONECREST — Daisy Days, the celebration of the yellow daisies growing on Panola, Arabia, and Stone mountains, has kicked off with an added competition: the first people to finish hiking all three mountains will receive a monadnock-themed prize package in addition to the Daisy Days prize.
The Daisy Days Triple Hike Challenge runs through September and celebrates the fall flower bloom on metro-Atlanta’s massive granite outcrops. Instead of a large group hike, this year’s event is “Hike as you Like,” meaning that participants can hike the mountains on their own time and at their own pace, all while filling out a digital passport to earn their prize.
The yellow daisies (Helianthus porteri) are native to the rock outcrops of the Southeastern United States, especially in the granite formations or monadnocks found around metro-Atlanta. While these rock outcrops seem barren, especially during the scorching summers, fall and winter see a profusion of wildflowers grow out of patches of thin soil called solution pits.
As hikers climb the three mountains, they can take photos and upload the images to an online passport. Once they have sent in the passport, they earn their prize. The First to Finish challenge will reward the first participants with an additional monadnock-related prize package.
Park rangers ask that guests remember to take safety precautions while hiking to maintain your health and the health of others. That includes cleaning your hands regularly, either by washing or hand sanitizer, wearing a mask and staying home if you feel sick.
The Daisy Days Triple Hike Challenge is the fall counterpart to the spring Monadnock Madness event, an outdoor extravaganza in which people can enjoy triple hikes, mountaintop yoga, photography workshops and dozens of other events throughout the month of March. Monadnock Madness accompanies another floral explosion on the granite outcrops, as plants such as the atamasco lily, granite stonecrop and diamorpha burst into vibrant spring bloom. Details for the 2021 Monadnock Madness will be announced in January.
Daisy Days is presented by the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, Friends of Panola Mountain State Park, Panola Mountain State Park and the Stone Mountain Memorial Association.
To learn more about Daisy Days or the hiking challenge, visit www.arabiaalliance.org/daisy-days/.