Monday April 22, 15.5mi/24.9km
Priest Mountain shelter (829.1) to Reeds Gap (844.6) (VA)
When I woke in the shelter at 7am, Early Bird and Cedar were already gone. Bob and I packed up and got moving at 7:30am. The descent down from the Priest Mountain was very rocky.
There were a couple of nice views on the way down.
We descended 3000ft/900m to the Tye River, and the river crossing had another cool swingbridge.
Then, the trail promptly climbed back up the same 3000ft/900m to another peak called Three Ridges. The morning was still cool, so it was a comfortable climb. And in another wilderness!
Halfway up the climb, there is a shortcut trail which saves about 4 miles. I didn’t see any footprints going that way.
There weren’t any views at the top of Three Ridges peak, but a mile later there was a viewpoint called Hanging Rock overlook. There were quite a few dayhikers around too.
In the trees below, you can see the green of spring creeping up the hillsides to the higher elevations. Cool!
I caught up to Cedar at the road at Reeds Gap, and we quickly got a hitch with a nice local woman. Driving a Subaru, of course! We made it down to the Devils Backbone brewery by 2pm, and had a big 2nd lunch.
Bob’s PCT friend, Shutter, also came out to visit from Charlottesville. They did the PCT together in 2017, and it was fun to hear how that trail had changed since I hiked it. Another hiker, Soulshine, also came to camp, he is doing a yo-yo on the AT this year (already hiked it once before), on his quest to be a 3x Triple crown hiker. Impressive. The 5 of us had some beers and snacks, and it was a fun chill evening. I went to bed early, there is a 7am hiker breakfast that is supposed to be legendary!