Seeley Woolworth Shelter to Hanging Rock Overlook
Miles Hiked: 18.4
AT Milage: 840.9
I left camp before anyone else today at 7:15ish. I hiked 3 miles to spy rock where I put down my pack and enjoyed the great view. I had to use my hands and feet to climb on top of the rock. My feet were already hurting 3 miles in so I used my golf ball to massage them.
After Spy Rock I had to go almost four miles to Priest Mountain Shelter. The log book at the shelter serves as a confession book which is very funny. Thru hikers confess their worst trail sins which are typically a violation of a leave no trace principle or something super gross they did. Most of them had to do with going to the bathroom. I was laughing a lot. A group of hikers made a “thru hiker” prayer which I thought was very funny as well.
After the priest I began a downhill decent to the Tye River. It’s nice to hike downhill sometimes but other times it can feel brutal on the knees. This downhill hike made my legs feel terrible! I took my time on it and took a long break to fill up my water at Cripple Creek where I took some pictures of some type of amphibian!
After getting to the Tye River the hardest part of my day started. I had to do a giant climb up to Three Ridges mountain which I am now calling the hardest climb on the AT in Virginia. I think I took at least three hours or more to hike five miles. It started thunder storming when I was halfway up and I was so scared I sat down on the side of the trail and pulled the rain fly of my tent over me to wait it out! The thunder and lightning were right next to me. Luckily it only lasted about 30 minutes. I got out from under my cover but now my entire tent was soaked.
I continued the uphill climb taking lots of breaks. Some of it was scrambling up sharp rocks. When I finally got to the top I was so relieved. The elevation profile really did feel as bad as it looked. I set up my tent at an amazing view called Hanging Rock Overlook. This is the best view I’ve gotten since I’ve walked into Virginia! I was supposed to have some other good views but it was raining those days so I couldn’t see anything. I’m excited to hopefully wake up at sunrise tomorrow and only have to walk a few feet to see it. From this view I can see the big downhill and uphill I had to climb today. It’s very satisfying to see where I walked today! I can’t believe I can climb mountains this big sometimes.
I had spaghetti for dinner which was really good! This is probably the first hot meal I’ve had on trail that I thought was worth the effort to cook. Geode and Walnut ran into me when I was eating dinner so they took a picture for me! They are heading two more miles down the mountain to the shelter. I am camping alone for the first time tonight so far! There really isn’t room for another tent. I made sure to hang my bear bag really good tonight because they are supposed to be very active in this area.
When I took off my shoes I found that I had giant blisters on the back of my heels. They hurt super bad. I could feel them coming, but I hope they go away and I can deal with them tomorrow! It’s supposed to rain tomorrow which is not good for my feet. They always get so blistered in the rain and they are very hard to take care of.
One thought on “Day 63: The Hardest Climb in Virginia”
Des, I LOVE reading about your adventure! You have a great writing voice and my mind busily forms pictures from your words. What a gift you are giving yourself with this trip. I am thinking about you and your journey, andvlook forward to your updates. Stay safe and happy!! Pam Downing
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