October 28, 2002 Pilot Mountain
We left for Pilot Mountain at 11:30am. We stopped at the park station for maps and then continued the drive up the mountain. Pilot Mountain is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountains. A quartzite monadnock, the rugged mountain rock has survived for millions of years while the elements have eroded surrounding peaks to a rolling plain.
Pilot Mountain is capped by two pinnacles: big Pinnacle, with walls of bare rock and a rounded top covered by vegetation, rises 1,400 feet above the valley floor, the knob juts skyward more than 200 feet from its base. Big Pinnacle is connected to Little Pinnacle by a narrow saddle. Visitors have easy access to the top of Little Pinnacle where the view encompasses hundreds of square miles of the Piedmont and the nearby mountains of North Carolina and Virginia.
To the native Saura Indians, the earliest known inhabitants of the region, Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the “Great Guide” or “Pilot.” It guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area. The Sauras were driven southward by the Cherokees, who subsequently occupied the area. Further settlement in the area was led by Moravians, but the population remained sparse during colonial times due to frontier turbulence created by an alliance between the Cherokees and the British.
The mountain was mapped in 1751 by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, father of President Thomas Jefferson. Pilot Mountain became North Carolina’s 14th state park in 1968, due in large part to the efforts of a group of local citizens. But even before that, the mountain was a commercial tourist attraction.
Anyway, we parked up near the top at the picnic area. From there we hiked up to the Little Pinnacle Outlook. It was beautiful! The fall leaves were nearly at their peak and so it was picture perfect.
Then we went on the 45 minute trek on the Jomeokee trail. The trail sloped down and then back up to the granite base—which is the bald knob that you can see from the highway. It was fun for both of us. I especially had fun climbing up on some of the rocks for a better view. It was a challenge. Jason had me take a picture of him climbing the rocks as well, but he wasn’t very high up. It was funny.
After we went back to our car we went back to our car, we drove along the old highway 52. It took us back to Winston-Salem, where we stopped at Fazzoli’s to eat. It was the closest one to our home and it was still an hour away! It was so good. Mmm. It was worth the drive just for the breadsticks. I even helped stocked the silverware while I was there. Then we got lost in Winston-Salem on the way back. But eventually we got back on 40 and got home.