On the last day of my March adventure in the blue ridge I FINALLY woke up to some partly cloudy skies! There was still quite a bit of fog, but the feel and the view of the sunshine poking through was amazing!
I had saved the East Rim of Linville Gorge for the last day so I set off for a ~7.2 mile hike on Shortoff mountain. It was about a 1 hour drive from Spruce Pine to the Wolf Pit trailhead.
![blogPics](/static/img/156/sign.jpg "Wolf Pit trail beginning")
The start of the trail was down a 2-3 mile unpaved road. Cars were parked along the sides near the trail head. Shortly after starting the trail (maybe a quarter of a mile in) I came across an intersection between the trail for Shortoff mountain and the Mountain to sea Trail (MST). I was grateful for the clear direction after my navigation mishaps in Pisgah National Forest the day before!
![blogPics](/static/img/156/intersection.jpg "Shortoff Trail intersection")
After passing the intersection the trail began to ascend steeply with a combination of grooved steps and rocky inclines. Before long, I was greeted with sweeping views of the nearby Lake St James. The rest of the way up the trail, there were frequent rocky outcroppings with clear views. Great places to take a rest or enjoy a snack! I was constantly zig zagging back and forth between the main trail and little side paths to see the next view.
![blogPics](/static/img/156/firststop.jpg "Climbing Up")
I passed a few campsites on the way up, albeit sparsely populated in March and more hikers than I had seen the rest of the trip. Eventually I came to what I believe was the top of Shortoff (although I didn't find any marker or sign). I actually missed it first and kept on hiking, but soon guessed my mistake as a I was descending quickly and passed my expecting mileage. The end of the hike was pretty, but the stops along the way were just as nice.
By the time I headed back down again the familiar fogs began to roll in and the views were obscured. That being said, the way down was much easier and faster! All in all, it was a great hike! Highly recommended!