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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Multi-caching with my grandson at Pilot Mountain

Beth, Jeremy and Littleman2010

From the Pilot looking south

Pilot Mountain

Littleman2010

The easier trail

At the final stage of the cache
On the Andy Griffith Show they called in Mount Pilot. Here near the home home town of Andy, it is the town of Pilot Mountain. The big attraction isn't the town, its the mountain itself. Pilot Mountain is beautiful seen from any direction but especially coming north on Highway 52 from Winston-Salem.

I received a text from my second daughter on Wednesday night late. It invited me to go with her and her family to hike up on Pilot Mountain. Their three-year old son, already a new geocacher by the name of Littleman2010, want to go walking in the woods. Anytime he wants to walk in the woods it usually means he asks to go look for a geocache. He still thinks geocaches are everywhere, not understanding the use of the GPSr. My wife and youngest daughter were schedule for a lot of wedding planning and preparation so I agreed early the next morning.

We set off from their house in their car. As we approached Pilot Mountain from the south it was totally obscured by the rain and the clouds. Although the weather report had indicated only a 20% chance of rain, I wondered if that meant it would rain 20% of the time (specifically the 20% when we wanted to be out and about). We could barely make out the exit sign indicating we had arrived at the Pilot Mountain State Park. We made our way up the mountain in their little Toyota. Dry draws on the mountain were now raging little streams dumping their overflow onto the pavement as we ascended. This created numerous tiny waterfalls which thrilled Littleman2010. We reached the parking lot at the top of the mountain where the observation points for the real Pilot Mountain summit are. We waited for another ten minutes and then the skies cleared and a hot sun producing a steamy morning came out. We headed for the observation points and the opportunity to hike. While at the main observation point we took in great views of the valley below and the summit in front of us. Littleman2010 thought the ponds below, with their rain swollen brown/red color, were like chocolate milk. While at the observation point we began to gather the necessary information for a multicache called Little Pinnacle Cache (GCKYE5). It was straight forward with no deception. The second and final stage was somewhere some distance from where we were standing. Knowing North Carolina's state park's outlook on geocaching I knew that it had to be "off the reservation" as caches are prohibited here.

We continued our fun by selecting an easy trail to hike. Littleman2010 gets tired and wants to be carried after a while so we didn't want to be stranded two miles in with a tired little boy. We took off on the Sassafras Trail, a .5 mile distance forming a loop and of a moderate challenge. It was just right for the little feet. He was most amazed at the burned out land. I recall that last fall I seem to remember traveling by Pilot Mountain on highway 52 and seeing the forest fire on the side of the mountain burning. We were now in the area where it had burned a number of acres. Littleman2010 would stop and stand on large rocks and would marvel at the large logs that were burned black.

We capped off the hike with a stop in the picnic area in the shade of some tall trees. Picnics with Littleman2010 are always fun and interesting. He is learning to love the outdoors and has a "why" question for everything.

We headed down the mountain for the highway while tracking to our 2nd stage of the Pinnacle cache. Just off the reservation and on the large wooded strip of land that makes up the median between the north and southbound lanes of highway 52 we stopped on the access ramp. The cache was 400 plus feet away. With my daughter holding Littleman's hand we traversed the steep embankment to arrive at a relatively flat forest floor. The undergrowth was insignificant and there appeared to be no poison ivy. Littleman2010 could walk. We got to the GZ and started looking around. Finally I spotted the place of hiding. I then maneuvered Littleman2010 to where he would be the one to find the regular-sized cache. He was thrilled at the find. I had left my swag bag in the car so made the trip back to get the trade item we needed as he had found a toy camera he wanted. On the way there I found a small terrapin I brought to show to Littleman2010. He never would come out with us around. We left him near the cache and headed on our way.

On the way home we grabbed a couple of easy roadside caches and then called it a day. It was a nice, though humid day. We headed home to get ready for the 4th of July cookout with the entire family and the fireworks to follow. Happy Birthday America!
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