Monday, February 09, 2009

Kid Rock 'Cocky'

I’m over the age of 40 and really starting to realize that I’m falling apart like a matchstick man in one of those old exercise machines with a belt that just shook people. And to be quite honest, I don’t like it.

My eyes have gone from nearsighted bad to nearsighted bad with a side of reading glasses… If that makes any sense. I get pains all the time and I’m not talking about the kind of pain that aches for a while. I’m talking about those quick stabbing pains that hit you and go away for no apparent reason… It’s like I’m someone’s little voodoo doll. My asthma hasn’t really gotten worse, so I suppose that’s good news.

A week ago last Saturday, I went up to Pilot Mountain for the first time and I’m talking about the actual mountain.

During my 42 years on this Earth, I’ve passed by that joker on Highway 52 or have seen it in the distance at least a thousand times. I’ve even flown right over it in a 2-seater airplane and felt the wind lift up the craft as if whipped around the large granite landmark. But I never visited the Pilot Mountain State Park to see it up close.

I’ve passed it on my way to and from West Virginia to visit relatives with my father driving our family car for the majority of those thousand times. My father only had one planned stop in Hillsville, Virginia for us to lessen our bladders and that’s when we were small kids. Otherwise, you were expected to hang it out the window to christen the side of the car.

Every time I passed it, I couldn’t help but look up at it from the highway. At night, I would try looking for it even if there was no moon light. I always wondered what the world looked like from that mountain. But our father never stopped. We had to be in West Virginia or home as quickly as possible without sniffing any roses along our way.

As I pass by at the base of the mountain these days, I always think about how monstrous that mountain must have been millions of years ago… How much water it took to erode the soil to reveal the unmistakable granite knob… How people have used it as a landmark when traveling from one place to another during the existence of mankind… From traveling on foot to horses to wagons to commuting in cars.

I recently went up there with Jamie for a look-see and a hike. I was amazed to see the skylines of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and I swear that I could see Charlotte from the various lookouts too.

After pointing to various things on the sprawling landscape, we took a hike around the knob. We chose the moderate course that was listed at eight tenths of a mile. I didn’t want to spend a whole day up there when there’s some television to be watched.

The steps were steep at certain points of the hike and my chest was beating like there was a wrongly imprisoned man passionately pounding on a cell door. It felt good to get the ol’ plasma circulating around a little faster than usual until… My asthma kicked in.

Breathing can be a harsh mistress and that bitch had me gasping and wondering if I was going to make it back to the place where I left my inhaler. I had to stop from time to time to chill out.

I wished I had brought a camera along with me, but I’ll remember it next time. And yes, I’m taking the inhaler.

I’m hoping to visit again this weekend… If my foot problem clears up.

Again. To revisit the opening of this blog, I’m falling apart.

The day after hiking the knob on Pilot Mountain, a tendon or muscle around my left heel bone started aching. By Friday, I was using a crutch just to get around the house. Every step was a tour through a Hellraiser movie type of pain with Pinhead.

It’s still no fun, but the foot is getting better.


  1. My mother grew up in between Pilot Mountain and Mt. Airy - my grandmother lives on old 52, off of Cook School Road. You can stand in her back yard and look at the knob. That is such an iconic image for me because of spending so much time there over the years. It really is a beautiful park. Glad you finally got to see it up close!

  2. If the weather holds out next weekend, I'm going for another visit.