We enjoyed a crisp but beautiful weekend exploring Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock State Parks in North Carolina. They were free, so that’s awesome, but they were also perfectly maintained. The trails were well kept even though it is currently the off season.
We had a blast at Pilot Mountain! The mountain sticks up in the middle of farm land and towers over you like a giant. What’s interesting about it is that it almost looks like a square of clean rock on all side with trees on top and below.
We explored and hiked around the base of it with the pups, who loved jumping and climbing all over the rocks. And of course Oakley likes to put her toes on the edge and look over the side of the highest point. It was a bit breezy and colder temperatures but while we hiked around the base of the mountain it was perfect because the sun was shining and reflecting of the rock, warming us up. Certain areas of the mountain are protected for the various birds that make their nests on the cliffs. There were a ton of them. It was pretty creepy actually to watch them flying and circling above us. We held Ella close because I’m pretty sure she could be a light snack for some of those guys.
We were able to find the base of where all the climbing is done (the crag) so that got Gerrit excited about trying out some of the sport climbing routes. So the next day we left the pups at the RV and we set out to do some climbing. There were quite a few other climbers there that were so nice and helpful pointing us toward the climbing routes we wanted to try. We sort of knew what we were looking for but it was great to get reassurance from the more experienced climbers. We spent a lot of time climbing ‘Mild Mannered Secretary’ and ‘Pole Dancing’. Gerrit would lead (meaning he climbed first, clipping into the bolts) once he made it to the top he made it so I could try top roping, so I wouldn’t have to clip into the bolts. It is kind of hard to explain but one of these days we will be able to take some good video. Our GoPro is currently out of commission so videoing action shots are more of a challenge with just the Nikon. I didn’t get very far up the wall, but it was my first time climbing outside so I’m alright with it.
We also were able to do a lot of hiking at Hanging Rock State park with the pups. It was a bit warmer which made it even more fun. We saw three waterfalls and hiked to the very top of Hanging Rock. It was a beautiful view. The rock looked like marble and we could see the Blue Ridge crystal clear. We also hiked down to an awesome den, that was a lot bigger than what I thought it was going to be.
Our time in North Carolina is starting to come to an end, but I am so glad we were able to spend some time and experience it like we had never before.
Lindsey, Gerrit, Oakley, and Ella
In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain.”