WonderRoot Urban Hiking
In a time of escalating gas prices, avid hiker Eli Dickerson found that he couldn’t justify the expense of going to the North Georgia mountains for hikes. So, he and some friends began to venture into the hidden parts of Atlanta. As they continued to explore some of the rougher terrain that the city has to offer, Eli got the idea to form a free urban hiking club. Local arts non-profit WonderRoot helped to get the word out, and the club took off, attracting close to 100 participants for some excursions. Most hikes cover only a few miles, and some have had specific themes, such as a tour of spots significant to the civil rights history of the city or a survey of urban graffiti. Many take place on the Beltline, a 22-mile former rail corridor around the core of the city. An ambitious city initiative is transforming the Beltline into parks, greenspace, and trails and will eventually incorporate transit and housing. While it is in a state of transition, the Beltline offers a perfect venue for the urban hikes, with the kind of rough-around-the-edges beauty that often remains hidden in the city.