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  • Recent Activity

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Birkhead Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Hanging Rock Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson reviewed Hanging Rock Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This trail is not as primitive as I would like. It is, however, well-maintained, as it is located within a state park.

    Joel Johnson completed Hanging Rock Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson added Hanging Rock Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson followed Aly Schearer

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Daniel Boone Scout Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson reviewed Badin Lake Trail (Loop)

    over 5 years ago

    This is a great trail for couples, families and groups. There are several camping areas along the lake that convinced me to return in the future. I recommend this trail to anyone living in the area looking for a quick day hike without driving far.

    Joel Johnson completed Badin Lake Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Badin Lake Trail (Loop)

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Badin Lake Trail (Loop)

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson reviewed Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    I knocked out the Kanati Fork Trail in conjunction with 1.8 miles of the Thomas Divide Trail. Kanati isn't traveled very often, and it was apparent. But, it was a pleasant trip (we hiked down from Thomas Divide rather than up).

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson completed Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson followed Allison W

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Kanati Fork Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson followed Daniel Lane

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson completed Stone Mountain Loop Trail (NC)

    over 5 years ago

    Joel Johnson updated Beech Spring Mountain Bike Park

    almost 6 years ago

    Joel Johnson reviewed Wolfpit - Shortoff Mountain - Mountains To Sea (Section)

    almost 6 years ago

    Killer Gorge. The not-so-affectionate name of Linville Gorge in the foothills of North Carolina. I've driven by the Gorge many times, but never thought to plan a backpacking trip there. Formed over millennia by the Linville River, the Gorge is textbook wilderness. It's easy to see why so many people have died there.

    This trip marked a first for my brother, "Gout." New to backpacking, he had an experience waiting for him in the Gorge! The others who would join us on the trip were "Milk" and "Socrates." You may remember Milk from a prior Uwharrie trip. Socrates is a new friend I met on the Reddit subreddit I moderate, /r/NCTrails. If you aren't sure what that is, you should visit and you'll learn quickly. This was the first trip involving NCTrails, but certainly not the last.

    Our journey began on the southern end of the Gorge, east ridge. We parked at "Wolfpit." Because there aren't any signs, we weren't really sure we were in the right place.

    We knew from the topo map that we had a nice climb (about 1300 feet of elevation gain) for the first 1.75 miles of the trip. We weren't disappointed. While the climb itself wasn't fun, the views were spectacular. Lake James, which is fed by Linville River, greeted us within a few minutes. In 2002 and 2007 wildfires ravaged Shortoff Mountain. But, the damage is bittersweet. While I hate seeing nature destroyed, the vistas were enhanced because there was no foliage to block the views. On the negative side, I had to wear my ugly hat to keep the sun off my bald head. Another observation: the trail itself is apparently acting as a drainage ditch due to erosion. It was very, very rocky. Hiking boots are a must.

    The Shortoff Mountain Trail / Wolfpit Trail intersects with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) near the top of the mountain. We decided to take the MST to the summit rather than loop around and intersect further up the mountain. While it was certainly a shorter route, it was much steeper than the other. But, we made it just a bit worse for the wear. Milk and I were surprised at Gout's speed. For a newbie, he did a good job. Aside from his conspiracy theories, he did okay.

    Finally, after walking for about two miles, we found Shortoff Camp. While it wasn't our intended destination, it was tempting to stop there after the ascent. I had marked off several water sources on the map and we began looking for the first one. We found a goat trail that led about fifty yards to a small spring flowing up from beneath a tree. We stopped for a water break and I began filtering water.

    After our water break, we were greeted with dazzling views from the east ridge of the Gorge. It didn't take convincing on anyone's behalf to decide to take our lunch break here. Rock outcrops were plentiful, and we quickly found one for our hiatus.

    After lunch (and Milk's nap), we had another few miles to the base of the Chimney's, where we made our camp. The views along the way were shrouded by trees that hadn't been ravaged by wildfire. Again, I was reminded of the bittersweetness. We were thankful for the views we had experienced.

    We made it to camp around 5:00pm. We debated continuing on to the next water source, but I was outvoted. In hindsight, the others probably wish I had continued on myself after the snoring they had to endure! My supper consisted of Salmon Stew. I think I am allergic to milk powder, though. I didn't keep it down long. Gout and Milk made a fire, and we all began winding down for the evening. I did enjoy a bit of entertainment watching Gout and Milk rig our gear with paracord to keep varmints out. SMH. I was always taught to "work smarter, not harder." Apparently, that lesson isn't taught to everyone! I really am surprised the rig lasted all night.

    That night was uneventful, but cold. Frigid, even. We all stayed bundled up in our respective sleep systems and were fine until Gout decided to wake everyone up at 5:30am. Apparently, if he can't sleep, no one else can either. So, we all bailed out and began making breakfast. We broke camp and began our trek back the way we had come the day before. As the sun rose, I couldn't help but smile at how lucky I was to be where very few go. Experiencing the outdoors is something that will never cease to cause me joy.

    Day Two went by quickly; we enjoyed the same views as the first day, but they were still impressive. When we reached Shortoff Camp, we decided to take the route around the ridge instead of straight down the MST. In hindsight, we should've taken it the first day, too. There are some great views of the Gorge you can't see from anywhere else on the trail.

    All in all, the trip was a success. We met some people on the trail that gave us some insight into other areas of the Gorge we should hike, so we are already working on those plans. Eventually, we want to hike a twenty-two mile loop over a four or five day period, venturing

    Joel Johnson completed Shortoff Mountain Trail

    almost 6 years ago