Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rugged Territory

Another brief post for today.

One of my favorite spots in North Carolina is the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. It's true wilderness and very rugged. About as rugged as terrain gets in the eastern side of North America. The gorge is over 2,000 feet deep in some places, and it's easy to understand why people get lost in there even though all you have to do to get out is either follow the river upstream or down, or climb either side of the gorge (avoiding the cliffs, of course). Still, people get lost in there all of the time. People get killt down there, too.

These are the cliffs of Shortoff Mountain. "Shortoff" is the English corruption of the Slavic name Shortov, or Chortkov. There are a lot of mountains in the southern Appalachians called "Shortoff Mountain". There were apparently some Slavic people passing through the region at some time or another--enough of them to leave names behind.

This Shortoff Mountain is probably the most spectacular of them. It has tremendous cliff bands, and some really scary chasms.

And here I am a couple of winters ago, actually on Shortoff Mountain on the opposite side of the gorge from where I took the first photo. This was on one of the best hikes I ever took into the Gorge, with my pals Andy Kunkle and Jack Thyen. This photo was taken with my little Canon A1100IS camera by Andy (I think Andy took it).

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