For the next few days I'm going to be hard at work on my novel. Therefore, I'll post a photo log of our hike to the summit of Shortoff Mountain. I'll show a few images per day, plus some text descriptions.
This is where we parked the truck, at the end of Wolf Pit Road. We took my vehicle since it has four-wheel drive. There had been a snow and ice storm the night before.
Just past the truck we approached the trail head. I love the official wilderness area signs constructed by the National Forest Service.
Andy had worked out on a bike the night before the hike and his legs were not in the best of shape because of that.
Large sections of the wilderness were ravaged by terrible fires during the droughts of 2002 and 2007. The first part of the hike went through one of these sections, so it's not the most beautiful of spots. Time and Mother Nature will heal the wounds.
The first part of the trail was very muddy and very rough. It was never an official trail; just a track made by rock climbers to access the cliff tops where they could then scramble down the face to do some climbing. But it climbs quickly and soon you find yourself on the first part of the mountain's ridge lines.
View looking back down the track. You can see Lake James in the distance. Lake James State Park is there, and is one of the worst state parks I've ever been. In summer months the lake is very crowded and stinks incessantly of gasoline fumes from the thousands of motorboats tearing across its surface. I won't go back there.
A self portrait taken at the first really nice set of cliffs we hit. It was a bit dicey to get to this point. Fortunately I was wearing my yaktrax which helped me keep a good footing in the ice. However, by the time we made the summit, they had started to come apart.
One of the first really great panoramic views we saw along the trail. (Click to embiggen this beauty.)