Oh, my. I have absolutely no idea what they put in that beer last night, but I was up every two hours to visit the portapotties. It was like Niagara Falls every time, too! It continued today, very aggravating. I would have much rather slept. I always keep a water bottle nearby at night to replenish – by morning, it was all but empty!
Ah, but the $5 hiker breakfast was something to sing of. Two strips of bacon, a melody of fresh fruit, a ham and spinach omelet, a biscuit with butter and jelly, and coffee. Absolutely incredible! They gave me a ride back to the trailhead as well, and then I began to hike, about 8:30.
And it was indeed a hike. I stopped often to text, probably too often – focus on the trail, not the phone, Ziptie, you are not out of the woods yet! But it alleviated a private worry that I was getting soft.
Up Bee Mountain, but first I came across the campsite of some former thru-hikers, out section hiking, and we had a good chat. They convinced me not to take the shortcut blue trail, and I am glad they did! Bee Mt. was nothing special, really, but Three Ridges Mt. had some incredible views I would otherwise have missed! Very rocky though, particularly on the way down!
And then down to the Tye River, at 970 feet – a drop of over 2000 feet down. It is crossed by a suspension foot bridge that gave me a bit of vertigo. Hated that. Another 1.7 miles to a main highway, and then… The Priest. This is a major climb of 3100 feet, up to the tallest mountain in VA on the AT (iirc) at 4000 ft., stretched over 4.4 miles. A lot of switchbacks, a lot of climb, very rocky up near the top before it latches onto and follows the ridgeline. Still, I did not find it as bad as I had been told. I arrived at the shelter .4 miles past the summit about sundown.
As I came down from the summit, I could smell a campfire, and this made me very happy that I would not be alone like the last two nights. Four others are here – one sheltering, like me, the other three tenting. I opted to stay in the shelter tonight, the light was dying too quickly to both make dinner and set up the tent in daylight, and food took precedence. It was a great fire they had going, too, but I arrived too late for the marshmallows, alas. I consoled myself with a shot of Jameson’s.
So I am lying in my sleeping bag tonight, and it is getting very cold out there. Here’s hoping I don’t have to get up a million times tonight! Tomorrow I plan on a 15-17 mile day, a lot of that will be ridgeline though, easy walking. I will tent again tomorrow night, most likely.
I hike on!