Shortoff Mountain Trail

September 15, 2017

Lisa and I

Linville wilderness.

Lisa picked this hike. How she found it I do not know. We set off early Friday morning with our GPS leading the way. We are heading towards Morgenton, Lake James. While she is driving I check All Trails. It says Linville George wilderness unmarked trails. I’m wondering what we are getting into. GPS takes us down a long road that turns into a dirt road. The dirt road goes and goes past just a few houses now. It dead ends where 4 cars are parked on the side of the road and there is one sign at the trail head.

We don’t see any people so we start hiking down this trail which quickly looks like a dried up gully.

We keep traveling till we come up to the Shortoff sign at a crossroads. I check AllTrails and it seams to say the right turn goes only a short distance then stops so we continue down the trail. I do mean down because we do keep going down. We keep walking about a mile and seam to definitely not be heading towards any mountain. We walk through spiderwebs in the trail. Lisa keeps plucking along and I’m like “why are we walking through spiderwebs if other people are here” we hear gun fire in the distance and she mentions that hunting season opened today but she is pretty sure it’s bow season. 😳

Being the chicken that I am I stop and convince her we shouldn’t go any farther and we should go back and get in the car and go to the actual Linville area. We only walked a mile or so so we turned around and headed back up this trail.

While walking back up this trail Shortoff Mountain clearly comes into view to the left. We couldn’t see it going down but there it is.

I feel better about this trail now and start getting excited for this climb. We get to that crossroads and look at the sign again. The arrow pointing to the left is worn off. We see that we clearly didn’t look to hard at this sign or we wouldn’t have went straight.

We start trekking up this trail and Lisa mentions she gets lost a lot. She picks a trail but doesn’t research it. I tell her that I’ve been spoiled by my hiking partner Sherri. When Sherri hikes she is fully prepared. Knows where she is going has a trail map , knows where it goes. I make a mental note that I need to start doing that also.

There is a trail that goes towards some running water.  This trail looks like its bearing left toward Shortoff Mountain Top.  Later we will find out that it clearly doesn’t.

We continue on our trail which trail goes up stairs, around the bend and Shortoff mountain comes into view.

At least we are going in the right direction. It’s about 4 miles till we reach the craggy rocks. It’s just beautiful up here.

We can see Lake James in the distance. The trail winds around the rocks at the top and more beautiful views are everywhere overlooking the Linville Gorge.

In the distance we see a couple of hikers they are kind of far so it’s hard to tell if they are men or women. We keep hiking at Lisa’s long legged pace and soon catch up to them. They are 2 guys from Chattanooga and are backpacking in. They mention that we can pass in front of them. They were talking about how fast we were coming up the trail to catch up to them. We ask where they are going. He has clearly done his homework and tells us Table Rock is about 4 miles ahead. Looking like a fool I tell them that Table rock trails we closed because of Hurricane Irma’s wind.  Trees were down and the trailblaze people were doing clean up there. Lisa wants to keep going but I don’t feel strong enough to continue that trek.

Problem is I think it’s Table Rock in South Carolina which is 130 miles away. Duh. It’s actually table rock in North Carolina! 🤦‍♀️

I get Lisa to reluctantly turn back and we go sit out on the rocks and have lunch. We snap some more selfies and beautiful views.  This girl can hike for miles and miles.  I am clearly the underdog at all times.  But that’s ok.  I’m getting stronger and stronger in my old age.

We start down the mountain and come to a sign that says MST-River trail. We figure this goes back to where we were going to turn off toward the stream coming down, so we start trekking down.  I do mean down. We hiked about an hour straight down this trail. It was low trafficked trail and slightly overgrown. I again start feeling like we are doing something wrong.  Lisa is just happy to be hiking. I say Lake James is behind us I think we are going in the wrong direction. I check Alltrails and it’s no help. I clearly do not like this App. I really had a blond moment because all of sudden it hits me!  The MST -river = Mountain to Sea Trail ! Now I’m sure we are going the wrong way, which means that we have to hike back straight up an hour to get back to our trail! 🤦‍♀️

Now we have to go back up there! Crap. My legs have been having a weak day and a little bit of panic about this climb I have a hard time getting back up. I go maybe 10-15 steps rest, 10-15 steps rest. Poor Lisa she has to wait for me. It’s so hot also. I’m dying. I take my shirt off use it as a towel and hike about 30 minutes in my bra.  We haven’t seen anyone since we were on top of shortoff so hey whatever.  I really felt like hiking naked at this point cause I’m sweating and I’m dying.

Lisa coaxes me up this trail little by little. She’s ahead of me and I hear her talking to someone. She yells we’re here! I jump back behind a tree and put my shirt on. Mental Note – SPORTS BRA!  This guy is sitting at our crossroads taking a break. We continue down our trail back to the car.

It would have been easier to hike to table rock then going down the MST trail and back up for sure!

All in all we hiked about 11 miles. My post read “it’s not called getting lost it’s just hiking extra miles”

Its always a Fun day in the woods lost or not. Until the next hike!


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