Monday, March 17, 2008

Hiking Three Ridges

I had an awesome adventure hiking Three Ridges along the Appalachian Trail (AT) this weekend. Our group of three set off from the Tye River heading north up the AT in nearly ideal conditions – 60F and blue skies despite dire predictions only 24hrs prior. We were immediately greeted with a steep 1,000 of vertical over the first 1.7 miles and I was struck by how heavy 30lbs felt on my back. We zigged when we should have zagged and lost a few hundred feet to a detour at the Harper’s Creek shelter that cost us 30 minutes. After retracing our steps and catching our breath it was on to Chimney Rock (3,204’) and the peak of Three Ridges (3,970’) at about 3pm. We enjoyed the decent to Bee Mountain immensely and decided to camp there (3,034’) for the night. Good thing since it started to rain just as we were setting our tents. Unfortunately I made a user error and didn’t pull my solo tent tight enough so I had a persistent drip from 10pm on (it stopped raining around 6am) that turned into a nice puddle at my feet. Getting the breakfast fire going was a challenge, but I was glad to have packed in my own oak (tinder sized) that Brian was able to put to good use. We returned to Rt 56 via the Mau-Har trail which was mainly downhill, except for a very steep 1,200’ climb from the cascading Campbell Creek. Being my first backpacking trip, I didn’t know what I was in for. It was physically challenging and somewhat technical. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience (except for the leaking tent).

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