Fri, Jan 2 2009 - Three Ridges Backpack (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Steve, Jennifer Poland, Nils Olson|
Even though the Three Ridges Wilderness Area is one of the most popular sections of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, I was still surprised to see over a dozen hikers out on this first weekend of 2009. We started the steady climb of nearly 3,000 ft. from the parking lot at Reeds Gap to the summit of Three Ridges under an overcast sky. The sun poked through on occasion to send rays of warmth to the valley far below. This trail has one spectacular vista after another. We braved the wind and cold and ate lunch at the summit, but we were soon ready to descend off the ridge to the relative calm of the hollow below.
We reached the shelter at Harpers Creek around 4:00pm. The crew quickly gathered firewood, filtered water from the creek, set up a tarp on the open face of the shelter to keep out the wind, and made dinner. Sipping hot chocolate and regaling each other with stories as we sat by a roaring fire made the evening pass all to quickly and soon it was time to retire to the warmth of our makeshift shelter.
The following morning was surprisingly warm. We were soon hiking in short sleeves on the Mau-Har Trail. The highlight of this trail is Campbell Creek with its cascading waterfalls. The group was reluctant to leave this riparian wonderland, but were also looking forward to the second part of the trip - Meadows Cabin.
We drove to Meadows Cabin, which is on the outskirts of the eastern boundary of Shenandoah National Park, arriving around 4:00pm. The cabin was being shared with another group of people. I assembled the group of nine and assigned the menfolk to gathering wood, splitting logs, and other manly chores. The womenfolk were to pretty up the cabin and prepare the vittles and drink for the group's dinner. Jenny took me aside and gave me a stern "talking to" about my archaic notions of gender-based chores. Soon the other women joined in and I had a mutiny on my hands. I was voted out of the cabin and had to spend the night alone in the wood shed without any dinner. Jenny believes that she struck a blow for equality, but I got even by carving uncomplimentary things about her on the wall of the wood shed.
The group of nine went on a day hike on Sunday to the summit of Doubletop Mountain before saying our goodbyes and heading home. I do believe some new friendships were made. I heard Nils mumbling something about a cougar and a name that sounded like Terri as he walked off with a dazed look in his eyes.
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