Pilot Mountain Burning!!

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It is a beautiful second weekend in November. Temps are soaring into the 70’s. it is a great time to do some hiking along the trails at Pilot Mountain. There is a problem though, it is closed. The mountain is on fire!! Yes, the great Pilot Mountain, that stands alone in the northwest piedmont, with it’s distinctive Big Pinnacle, is covered in smoke and flames for a third straight day. As of Saturday evening, 700 acres have been charred.

This all began from a prescribe burn that went badly wrong. It was supposed to begin and end on Thursday 11/8, yet the fire jumped the lines and has now burned free for 2 days. Officials claim to have it contained and no homes are at risk. 1000 acres are estimated to be burned by the end. When all of this is said and done, what will this mountain look like? Is prescribed burning a good idea? If they do it to prevent wildfires, but end up causing one instead, I would say not!!

Below are some photos of the Pilot Mountain Fire from today 11/10/12. Also is a photo from this summer showing Pilot Mountain before the fire.

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Snowy Pilot Mountain Walk

“Jomeokee”, or “The Great Guide” as it was once known to native Americans, Pilot Mountain sits alone in Northwestern NC. A metamorphic quartzite monadnock that stands at 2421 feet above level. It is a the shining star of the ancient Sauratown Mountain Range. The other remnants of this once great chain sit just to the east and are made available by the popular Hanging Rock State Park.

Snow!! This day was all about snow. February 19 was our first measurable snow this season which is rare. It wasn’t much mind you, but it was enough to get us all excited. I was able to drive to the top of Pilot Mountain the same day of the snow, so obviously it was minimal, maybe 2 inches on top.

Pilot Mountain State Park, sits just minutes outside of Winston-Salem, and is a wonderful breath of fresh air when time does not allow a longer trip to the bigger mountains just to the west. The park road takes you to the top, not the Pinnacle itself as this is unaccessible. Once there, you will find numerous picnic spots, well designed overlooks at the piedmont valley below and on the “Little Pinnacle”, you will find the grandest view of the Pilot Mountain “Knob”. There are also some very good hiking trails here that I love to explore in warmer weather, today they had yellow tape, saying “Do Not Enter”. I guess they care about us….

The above shot is taken on the Little Pinnacle with the piedmont valley floor below. Its was a beautiful day up here, crisp and chilly, with blue sky abundant. After a few shots though, it was time to get back to the real world. I will be hiking Pilot Mountain from the bottom up soon, and will report back on that later.

Usually there is an accessible trail up to and around this large Pinnacle, but it was closed today, that is a shame, this is what I came to see.

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