Stone Mountain Park in the Fall

Stone Mountain Park in the Fall

On the cloudy and cool day of Sunday, November 15, 2002, Ranger Bob took a pre-Thanksgiving hike on the main loop over the top of the mountain and down by the water fall in Stone Mountain State Park.  There were a substantail number of other hikers but no congestion.  I was alone on the trail for much of the trip. 

For about four years I have suffered from getting out of breath which is triggered by starting any kind of strenuous activity.  The problem is caused by post traumautic stress disorder from a scuba diving accident.  I was in serious trouble on the bottom of ocean at about 100 foot depth, afraid I would drown and came close to fatally panicking.  Since then I have been tested by four doctors for cardiovascular and pulmonary functions.  All the tests came back negative, meaning I am fully physically healthy.  The PTSD is psychological, and there is no cure except for me to get used to it and control it as best I can. 

I have already learned to control the breathlessness while playing tennis.  I can play hard and get out of physical breath but not suffer PTSD.  I don't know how I did this.  About 9 montsh ago it just started working.  I suppose it is because I play tennis so often - sometimes three times a week. 

On this hike I made good progress on controlling the PTSD while hiking.  I did not suffer any bouts of psychological breathlessness.  To do so I hiked exceedingly slowly and made a conscious effort to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells around me.  I purposefully did not dwell on getting up the mountain with any speed.  I still felt the normal occasions of physical breathlessness from hiking up a steep mountain, but I enjoyed the opportunity to be outside, rather than worrying about how long it would take me to get to the top. 

It appears that in the future when I hike, bike, backpack or otherwise engage in strenous exercise that I will be going slowly.  That means I will either be by myself; or I will be traveling with patient and understanding companions.


GPS Coordinates: 36.39361,-81.04333

Bob Laney

Written by:

Bob is the site curator and writer of Blue Ridge Outing. Since starting the Blue Ridge Outing travel blog in 2002, Bob has written, recorded and documented countless expeditions in the US and around the world.