Pilot Mountain

On the way home from a weekend in Greensboro, NC, I made a quick stop at Pilot Mountain State Park.

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I’d driven by this natural landmark hundreds of times, but had never stopped.  Despite the chilly temps and overcast sky, it was a nice way to recognize the Spring Equinox.

“Rising abruptly more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries”.

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Pilot Mountain is capped by two prominent pinnacles.  Big Pinnacle, with walls of bare rock and a rounded top covered by vegetation, rises 1,400 feet above the valley floor, the knob jutting skyward more than 200 feet from its base.

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The mountain is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountains.  To the native Saura Indians, the earliest known inhabitants of the region, Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the “Great Guide” or “Pilot.” It guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area.

The Redbuds are blooming!  Visit these links if you’d like to see more images of the beautiful purple / pink blooms that are some of the first signs of spring.

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The views were limited, yet still enchanting, on such an overcast day.

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The park offers miles of trails, camping, and climbing, and since it’s only an hour and a half from home, I’m thinking it will make for an excellent destination for a spring bike ride.

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Happy Spring Equinox!

Two weekends in a row spent traveling, bracketing full days in the office, leaves very little time for catching up with life, chores, and WordPress.  I miss checking in on all of you and hearing about the interesting things that you are up to, and I’m hopeful that I’ll find some time this week to visit.

Do You Know Bud (Redbud, that is)?

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Many of you responded to my previous post about Redbud, scientific name Cercis canadensis, by saying that you were not familiar with the tree.   Commonly called Eastern Redbud, it is a deciduous, often multi-trunked understory tree with a rounded crown and is noted for its stunning pea-like rose-purple flowers which bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges.  

The tree is native to eastern and central North America from Connecticut to New York to southern Ontario and the Great Lakes south to Western Texas and Florida( http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/ ).  Here in Virginia, we often see it in open meadows, and along roads and rivers.

My blogging pal, Pauline, The Contented Crafter, thought the Redbud looked familiar, and in doing a quick online search, found that in New Zealand they call it The Judas Tree.

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Littlesundog, writing from Oklahoma, commented that she loved the beautiful blooms and the heartshaped leaves.

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If you don’t have Redbud in your area, feel free to come visit Southwest Virginia in the spring and I’ll be happy to show you around!

Redbud Community

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For over 15 years, the group Pathways for Radford (PFR – find us on Facebook!) has been working with the City of Radford to promote the development, maintenance, and enhancement of a network of bikeways, walkways, greenways, and trails.  Through both mental labor (grant writing, committee work, and fundraising) and physical labor (trail building & maintenance, river clean up, construction of various structures), the group of citizens have helped to create a 3.5 mile paved bikeway / walkway system called The Riverway, much of which runs adjacent to The New River.

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The Riverway also runs through Wildwood Park, a 57 acre urban forest which has been designated a Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail and is an ideal place for hiking, wildflower identification, and because of it’s easy access and nearby location, is used as an outdoor biology lab by the school age and college students.

In honor of Earth Day, members and friends of PFR met to plant several Redbud trees.  We’ve planted many trees through the years and it is always a time of fellowship and fun while at the same time doing good for the City and for Mother Earth.

The Trees Arrive!

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The unloading and planting begins,

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followed by the watering.

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We admire the beauty of the trees,

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the satisfaction of a job well done, and a community of friends.

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 Happy Earth Day!