Purgatory Mountain, North Carolina is the location for a short story I wrote for an anthology published in August 2020. As such, this hike focused on the trail, or rather, the area that wasn’t trail. My story timeline is the Civil War, and I needed to get the lay of the land and identify places where the action in my story could take place.

This hike is accessed by driving to the North America entrance of the NC Zoo in Asheboro, NC. Once on the zoo road, take the first left (where buses park) and find the Purgatory Trailhead on the left. The hike qualifies as a walk in the woods, and I consider Purgatory Mountain to be more of a hill than a mountain.

I didn’t do a lot of research on the area before hitting the trail, and I believe it tinted my view. I truly expected a mountain hike and was somewhat disappointed in the lack of mountain. However, lovely rock piles and formations can be found around every turn. I immediately envisioned the kids in my story using the rocks for surveillance and for hiding. 

I was there in September 2019 and found some nice mushrooms. I always marvel at the lack of undergrowth in some areas of North Carolina, and I enjoy visiting places where kudzu hasn’t taken over. 

When you reach the top, there is no outstanding view from the trail because it is heavily wooded. There are plans for a tower to be built that should give hikers access to a lovely view, but nothing at this time. There are three trails, and I found all three to be enjoyable in their own way. 

Though light on mileage, this was an enjoyable outing. After conquering Purgatory Mountain, we sauntered over to the North Carolina Zoo and added another four miles to our day.

“Bronze Eyes and Muskets” follows Noah, a 21st-century kid, who ends up in 1864 in North Carolina before the Civil War has ended. It is published in Doorway to the Past…, a collection of short stories about middle grade school children who have unexpected adventures on a field trip. All proceeds will go to a non-profit in Davie County, North Carolina. You can purchase a digital or paperback copy here at Amazon.com.