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View Full Version : Travel to Piedmont of North Carolina, and Flatlands of Delaware (Mar/Apr 2010)



1HappyHiker
04-06-2010, 09:50 PM
During this past week we visited family members who live in the piedmont region of North Carolina where it's mostly flat. And, we also visited other family members who live in the State of Delaware where it's really flat!:eek:

Although the initial plan for the North Carolina visit called for a hike in the Mt. Mitchell area, circumstances caused us to considerably scale back our plans. The end result was a very mild-mannered, but enjoyable hike to Pilot Mountain (roughly equivalent to a hike to Mt. Willard here in the Whites).

Pilot Mountain rises to a peak altitude of 2,421 ft, and it falls into the category of a "monadnock" (loosely defined as an isolated mountain remnant standing above the general level of the land because of its greater resistance to erosion). This unusual mountain is believed to be a vestige of the ancient Sauratown Mountain range. The "softer" peaks in this range eroded away over millions of years.

Pilot Mountain is one of the more distinctive natural features in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and as such, it served as a landmark to guide Native Americans as well as the early European settlers. The city of Mount Airy, NC is located just a few miles away. This town served as the basis for the fictional town of Mayberry on the TV classic, "The Andy Griffith Show".

So anyway, below is a photo showing Pilot Mountain from the roadside.

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Here's a closer look at this mountain as seen from an approach route to it.

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It's interesting that you cannot actually go to the top of this mountain. The trail loops around the base of the summit which is about 200 ft above the trail. You might think that there isn't a trail to the top because of the vertical cliff that surrounds the entire summit. That is certainly a factor, but about 40 years ago there was a metal ladder attached to the rockface which allowed you to climb to the top. However, the ladder was eventually removed because of concerns about safety, combined with concerns for the nesting raven population atop the mountain.

Below is a snapshot of a raven coming in for a landing on the mountaintop.

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From the trail that encircles the summit of Pilot Mountain, most of the views are overlooking the vast and rather flat piedmont region of central NC.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/S7tSPs22HUI/AAAAAAAAHA4/r7PqEsIo6H8/s800/P1040538.JPG

However, there are a few spots where you can see some other "monadnock" type of mountains rising above the piedmont.

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We spotted a rock formation jutting from the cliff face of Pilot Mountain. It ever so slightly resembled the image of our dearly departed "Old Man of the Mountain" here in NH. Although it is an interesting profile, there will never be another "Old Man"!

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Our next stop after North Carolina was the State of Delaware. There are no mountains in DE, nor are there any mountains within an easy drive in any of the surrounding States. However, we did do a nice nature walk on the grounds of a place called Winterthur. Here, there were definite signs of Spring beginning to emerge, as can be seen in the photo below.

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Although it in no way resembled our more rustic beaver ponds here in the Whites, there was an attractive pond containing Koi/Japanese Carp (or as I call them, "goldfish"!).

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/S7tSWR2u7II/AAAAAAAAHBM/UMQIg2JdB0s/s800/P1040587.JPG

It was a very nice trip and it was certainly great to see family members again. However, it was also great to get back to NH. As is often said, "There's no place like home"!

1HappyHiker

Anna LeBlanc
04-07-2010, 09:50 PM
Great photos as always John.I particularly liked the shot of the"Southern"Old Man.
I have to admit though.As pretty as these pictures are I'll take the Whites anyday.:D

_____________

Anna

1HappyHiker
04-07-2010, 10:45 PM
. . . I have to admit though. As pretty as these pictures are I'll take the Whites anyday.:D
I'm in total agreement, Anna! The Whites are simply fabulous, and the Adirondacks are a very close 2nd!:)

Thanks for your reply.

Snow Miser
04-08-2010, 07:47 AM
Very nice photos John. I agree with you and Anna, there is no place like The White's, or New England in general. But any mountain is a good mountain too. Thanks for posting them!

BAXTERCA2
04-08-2010, 04:05 PM
Nice photos, I have to say it did remind me a bit of the movie
"Close Encounters of third kind" :confused:

Brad
04-08-2010, 05:02 PM
John,

Did you do the trail from the south starting at the Corridor parking lot - and then do the Loop trail?

Great Guinness Ghost
04-08-2010, 07:04 PM
Great photos, thanks for sharing!

1HappyHiker
04-08-2010, 09:37 PM
Snow Miser and Great Guiness Ghost: Thanks guys for your nice comments!:)

BAXTERCA2: I thank you as well for your nice comments. And yes, I can definitely understand your comment about how Pilot Mountain reminds you of Devils Tower (Wyoming) which was the mountain featured in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/S76BEC8n6YI/AAAAAAAAHB4/LUYCqWl4pqU/s800/Articles.jpg

Brad: From the nature of your question, it sounds like you might have hiked to Pilot Mountain at some point. I think I know which trail you're talking about that comes up from the south. It's called the "Mountain Trail". Unfortunately, I was unable to convince anyone to take either the Mountain Trail, or a similar trail from the east called the Grindstone Trail. So instead, we drove up the Auto Road and constructed some loop hikes using a combination of trails that provided a variety of views from the summit area of the mountain. The trails involved in our loops were the Jomeokee Trail, Sassafras Trail, Ledge Spring Trail, and Little Pinnacle Overlook.

Our "drive-up" hike was similar to taking the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the summit, and then doing hikes off the summit area to places like the Alpine Garden, etc.

Tim&Val
04-11-2010, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the pictures from Winterthur! We used to live in Delaware, and a walk at Winterthur or close-by Longwood Gardens would always make us happy that spring had arrived. Just beautiful!

Valerie

mtruman
04-11-2010, 08:47 AM
So John, does this mean you've finally run out of interesting bushwhacks in the Whites and are being forced to branch out? :rolleyes: Looks like this was a great place to visit and as always you provided an interesting perspective on it. I really liked the "profile" pic. To me it looks kind of like the "old tortoise in the mountain". Thanks for taking us on another great journey.

1HappyHiker
04-11-2010, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the pictures from Winterthur! We used to live in Delaware, and a walk at Winterthur or close-by Longwood Gardens would always make us happy that spring had arrived. Just beautiful!
How interesting! I haven't come across very many former DE residents here in NH. We lived in the Talleyville area for many, many years before relocating to NH. We still have family that lives in the Blue Hen State and visit them a couple of times each year.

So John, does this mean you've finally run out of interesting bushwhacks in the Whites and are being forced to branch out? :rolleyes: Looks like this was a great place to visit and as always you provided an interesting perspective on it. I really liked the "profile" pic. To me it looks kind of like the "old tortoise in the mountain".
Mark . . . I'm happy to report that my list still contains many more hikes/bushwhacks to do here in the Whites!:D

Regarding that "Old Man of the Mountain" rock formation that I posted . . . you know it's funny . . . I also thought it sort of resembled the head of a turtle when I saw it. However, no one else in my group thought that it did, and so I assumed it was just me who saw "turtle", when others saw "man of the mountain"!

KathyC
04-12-2010, 08:24 AM
These are nice pictures, but like Anna, I just love the White Mountain ones best.

I often use your photos as my desk tops, I just LOVE them, you have a terrific eye.