Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I went to visit an old, familiar park today--Crowders Mountain State Park. It's one of the places I hit when I want to see some forests and steep slopes without driving for two hours. Twenty-five minutes in agreeable traffic will find me at the parking lot and on my way down a trail leading to the top of a mountain.

Of course "mountain" is relative. There are two major summits in the park: Crowders Mountain and King's Pinnacle. Both are composed of quartzite caprock, which is why they are there--all softer material has long ago eroded away and been washed down the Piedmont to the sea. Crowders Mountain stands about seven hundred feet above its base, and King's Pinnacle rises a bit over nine hundred feet above the surrounding terrain. That's probably not enough for either to officially bear the title of mountain. But we are comfortable calling them that.

Another nickname for the peak is "Crowded Mountain". Lying close to both Gastonia and Charlotte, it gets a lot of visits. Even on a mid-week morning I encountered dozens and dozens of climbers heading to and from the peak.If I needed to reminded (I did not), I recalled why it's almost impossible to seek solitude there. Many hikers, and many hikers with their dogs.

I put in about four miles on the trails, tramped about on the rocks, and headed back home. It was nice, but really made me realize why I prefer our bigger mountains and more isolated trails farther west.

Even the quartzite eventually gives way before erosion and gravity.

Where I reclined and ate lunch at the top of the mountain.

An abandoned mill store across the street from the Crowders Mountain Golf Course.

No comments: