I met up with my old friend from DC, Cindy, at her family cabin located on the eastern side of the gorge. When I lived in DC, we hiked together almost every weekend, doing sections of the MD and VA AT, and always discovering plants and having lots of adventures.
We decided to do our favorite shorter hike in the Gorge, since I'd just driven four and a half hours to get there. We began at the Table Rock parking area, and climbed one mile to the summit of Table Rock, with its 360 degree views. One thing that makes Linville Gorge so unique is that each mountain has a characteristic shape, and you can see the chain of mountains as you hike along the rim, providing a fascinating lesson in perspective. Standing on top of Table Rock, there was a clear view up the valley to Hawksbill (with it's pointy cone) and down to the Chimneys (spiky) and Shortoff Mountain (sloped with stair-stepped side). It was nice to be able to identify each peak, and then hike along and see how far you actually travel.
|View of Hawksbill from Table Rock|
|Table Rock in the distance|
|Table Rock even further away, Hawksbill peaking out behind it on the left|
|The amphitheater with Shortoff Mountain in the distance|