@Annette Bartlett-Golden, Little Pinnacle Overlook and The Knob at Pilot Mountain. Oil on canvas, 9 by 12 inches. $180
By Annette Bartlett-Golden
On a cool, cloudy day that felt nearly like spring, I arrived with a couple of my cousins at Pilot Mountain State Park for an afternoon hike. The stony, knob-shaped form of Pilot Mountain rises from surrounding forests to an elevation of 2, 241 feet (683 meters) above sea level. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina about thirty minutes northwest of Winston-Salem, it is an iconic area landmark.
Looking out from the upper parking area, we could see the Yadkin Valley spread out below with the Yadkin River meandering through it and the billowing smoke of a distant fire. Park rangers down there were using controlled fire as part of forest maintenance, explained one of the rangers who had come up the mountain to observe the fire from above. With smoke wafting across the bottomlands and an overcast sky, the valley seemed shrouded in mystery.
Here I am with Marcela and Ana at the Little Pinnacle Overlook. Behind us is the Knob of Pilot Mountain.
We began our hike at the Little Pinnacle Overlook, where we could see more scenic vistas of the valley and an advantageous view of Pilot Mountain’s distinctive knob, called Big Pinnacle. As we stood at the overlook, we watched with surprise as some hikers brought their drone in for a landing. Then they kindly took our photo.
From there we set off over sandy paths and an abundance of rock stairs hugging stone cliffs of colorful quartzite. Along the paths and on the mountainsides grew rhododendrons, mountain laurel and pines. Hawks or ravens flew overhead and roosted in scrubby trees atop the cliffs. Passing below, we paused to watch students from nearby colleges climbing the rock faces.
Smoke in the Yadkin Valley (left) and a climber scaling Pilot Mountain's colorful rock face (right).
My cousins, Ana and Marcela, Ana’s mom, were great hiking companions. We took our time to enjoy and wonder at the natural beauty around us. Also, we took many photos. Sitting for a moment, ensconced among the stone, we picnicked, chatted and admired the views. Partway through our hike, we got confused about which trail to take but a rock climber and some other hikers set us straight and we returned to the parking lot unscathed and in good time.
For awhile, I had wanted to visit Pilot Mountain because, in addition to hiking, I wanted to make a series of paintings of this distinctive mountain. The colorful stone with its rugged appearance and the distant views gave me much interesting material for painting. Sometimes it takes a visit from family or friends to propel us to go out and see the interesting places around us!
For more information about Pilot Mountain State Park visit:http://www.ncparks.gov/pilot-mountain-state-park.
@Annette Bartlett-Golden, Cliffs at Pilot Mountain. Oil on canvas, 9 by 12 inches. $180
Annette Bartlett-Golden paints a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and makes abstract works with paper. Using vibrant colors, she imparts a sense of immediacy, vivacity and optimism to her paintings and paper collages.