Monday, June 09, 2008

I thought I'd write a bit on my recent trip back into the wilds of southern Virginia. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to test myself for Alaska by tackling "the most difficult trail in Virginia," i.e. the Three Ridges Wilderness trail, a 16 mile loop partially along the Appalachian Trail which we picked up on the Tye River just west of Lovingston, VA. I had hiked this trail almost exactly four years ago so, given physical atrophy, I was somewhat anxious to determine if I could still handle it (this time with knee braces). Having decided to lighten the load just a little bit with the purchase of a nice new pack stove from Hudson Traders, we realized while gearing up trailside that we had bought the stove box only and left the actual stove on the store self: the best laid plans... Luckily I had brought along my older stove and a half canister of fuel. Fortunately, we were able to rely upon natural fire for most of our cooking anyway, but the coffee production tended to suffer, major disappointment for Paddy needless to say. Since we got a relatively late start, we didn't hit the trail until sunset, but had a 2.5 mile trek up a steep trail to our first camp, most of which was done in the dark. I have to say, after that first section I was questioning whether or not I'd survive the next day's hike, which included a 3000 ft elevation gain to the top of mountain. 
This is a pic of our first camp on the morning of Day 2 as we prepared to tackle the hike up.

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