The weather this weekend was so nice here in Charlotte, great to get outdoors. Saturday I decided to go to Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County, North Carolina (about 45 minutes down I-85). I had heard Dr. Pillar mention it in class a couple times, and I have live in Charlotte my whole life and never been there so I decied to check it out.
First, a little background on Crowders Mountain. It has the highest peak in the surrounding area measuring 1625 feet above sea level. This mountain was formed about 500 million years ago and was once taller then the Alpes. Whats left of this mountain can tell us a story. We know that the rocks left behind due to weathering were made of kyonite-quartzite, a very strong rock that is very resistant to weathering. This weathering over hundreds of millions of years caused Crowders Mountain to be called a “monadnock, which is an isolated hill or mountain of weathering resistant rock (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/7913).” That is what you see if you are driving past it on I-85. The rock outcrop at the very top is called Kings Pinnacle. I believed it is named this because it looks like a kings crown. Thats where we decided to hike to.
Back to the hike. Once we got there we decided that we wanted to take the more strenuous hike to Kings Pinnacle and it took us about 1 hour to get to the top. On the way up there the terrane began to change dramatically. The first about half a mile of the trail is a little flat with a gradual incline. After that you begin to increase the steepness of the terrane as well as the over all ruggedness of the trail. While on the way to the top I saw many sandstones and shales that had been weathered away from the mountain. They had been severely oxidized and were mostly red and dark purple. Once you get to the top of the tail there is a sign that say that the rain end, and looking around and seeing not much i was a little dissapointed, but if you do a little bit of expert climbing you can make it to the top of Kings Pinnacle which has a beautiful view.
While at the summit I took a sample of the kyanite-quartzite to see what it looked liked. The outside had some moss on it and it was dark due to the weathering, but the inside was a pinkish purple with some mica. After playing geologist we decided to head back down the trail. The only drawback if any way that going on a Saturday, it was really busy and you dont realyy get the effect of being out in the wilderness, but still a great hike a well worth the trip.