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Mount Yonah - Jupiter & Saturn conjunction Winter Solstice hike

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Cleveland, GA   Hike: Mount Yonah - Jupiter & Saturn conjunction Winter Solstice hike  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Mon, Dec 21 2020  1:15 pm >> Mon, Dec 21 2020 6:15 pm
Registration Opens: Sat, Dec 19 2020 12:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Dec 21 2020 12:00 am
Event Duration:Approx 5 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:6 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Tony C
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:6
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 5 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The weather is looking great for Monday, so let’s get up to Mount Yonah for Winter solstice, and also to view the conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn, which will be the closest viewable one in about 750 years.  And if all that wasn't enough, we will also visit Yonah's little sister, Pink Mountain.

“It will be the closest Jupiter-Saturn pairing since July 1623, when the two planets appeared a little nearer. This conjunction was almost impossible to see, however, because of its closeness to the sun.

Considerably closer and in plain view was the March 1226 conjunction of the two planets — when Genghis Khan was conquering Asia. Monday’s conjunction will be the closest pairing that is visible since way back then.

To see it, be ready shortly after sunset Monday, looking to the southwest fairly low on the horizon. Saturn will be the smaller, fainter blob at Jupiter’s upper right. Binoculars will be needed to separate the two planets.”

The plan for this hike is to first take a quick walk down to the little waterfall about 5-10 min from the trailhead.  I'm not sure how much it will be flowing, but it's well worth a quick detour to check it out.  Then we will head back up to the main trail for awhile, before leaving it, to gain the saddle separating Yonah and Pink mtns.

We will follow the unofficial trail, along the saddle, but not quite to the actual summit of Pink, because it's private property and looks like more houses are up there now.  But we still get some nice winter views through the trees.

On the way back, we will head up the SE side of Yonah.  I’ve done this a few times. and it is somewhat steep, but not technical…no rock climbing or exposure, and we will be taking it slow.  It is adventurous, without being dangerous, which is the perfect combination.

We will try to err on the side of having too much time before sunset, rather than not enough, when we reach Yonah's summit.   So if there is a lot of time left, we can always hike over to an eastern viewpoint, and/or to The Boulder.  Then we will watch the sunset from one of the western overlooks, along with the planetary conjunction.

We will try to stay spaced out a bit, for social distancing purposes, and this should be especially easy on the way up, when we are often off trail.   

Total distance should be about 6 miles and around 2000’ total ascent.  Pace will be on the lighter side of moderate…perhaps avg 2 mph going up, and even less on the southside approach section.

Trekking poles are recommended, and if you have some footwear traction devices like microspikes, they would be helpful on loose leaves or any muddy areas.  They are designed for snow and ice, but I wear mine fairly often when hiking off trail.  I have some extra microspikes, that I will bring, in case anyone wants to try them.

It should be a great day to be on magical Mount Yonah and hope you can join us.

Required Items to Bring:

Warm clothing

Water and enough food to keep your energy level up

Hiking boots or trail shoes

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • trekking poles
  • camera


How to Get There:
Event Directions:

761 Chambers Road

Cleveland, GA 30528



The last half mile of the drive to the trailhead is on a well maintained gravel road

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Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.