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  1. #1
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Three Ridges Trail - Hike-N-Hang

    Well me and Dayglow had a blast to say the least. It ended up just being me and him on this trip which worked out pretty good. We got to the trailhead later than expected which forced some changes in our campsite choice. We decided to do this trail loop counter clockwise this time which proved to be a great idea.

    Our first stop was at the junction of the MarHar and the AT and then headed down to the shelter a few yards away. Met a hiker down there and chatted for a bit. Cant remember his trail name(sorry bout that) but he was pretty cool and had a good conversation for a bit before heading to our first campsite.
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    I forgot to dump the majority of the water I was carrying and hauled an extra 2 liters of water from the TH to the first camp for no reason...lol...(The trail straddles the river for the better part of the hike to the first and 2nd campsites)

    It got dark around the time we got to the first campsite which is not marked on the map. We stopped for a minute trying to decide whether or not this campsite was the one marked on the map. The time/distance we traveled didnt seem to add up and Dayglow suggested we push on until we reach the next campsite, gambling that the one we were at was not the one marked on the map. I was concerned about hiking in the dark based on a gamble; Dayglow reminded me that we were hauling hammocks and could simply set up shop anywhere we wanted, it we ran into trouble and had to stop.

    So we pushed on another hour into the dark with headlamps on low as we walked along the rocky path that straddled the river. We found the correct campsite and our gamble paid off. Perfect spot to set up camp with lots of room and a great view of the sky in HD quality. (No Clouds, or city lights).
    Day1.jpg

    We went ahead and set up camp first and then began to collect firewood to start a small fire. We noticed that there was about 5 different fire rings at this campsite location. So I took the rocks from one of the smaller firings and added them to one of the larger firings to eliminate one of them. I had packed some ingredients to make small pizzas so we went ahead and cooked those up which made for a pretty good meal. There was a large rock nearby that was pretty comfortable to lay on to check out the cloudless sky. After we finished our flasks we headed to bed. It got down to 25F and it was a little windy but not too bad. I slept pretty good that night. Dayglow got tired of his reflectix sliding out of his hammock so he hung a fleece blanket underneath his hammock and slid the reflectix inside of it. he said it worked great and he was warm the entire night.

    We woke up at dawn and both decided to lay back down for another hour. Ended up oversleeping and woke up at 1030. the Tidewater Trail maintenance club rolled into our campsite around 1130 and we chatted with them for about an hour before leaving. (We plan to join the trail maintenance club this spring/summer when I finish up with school go on a few maintenance trips with them.) We totally forgot to stop by and check out the waterfalls as we headed out. Headed straight to the next campsite which was at the base of Chimney Rock and stayed there till about 5pm chatting with various people and made a few new friends.
    Day2.jpgSequence 01.Still004.jpgSequence 01.Still006.jpg


    Now that the sun was setting, we began our night hike up the mountain to Chimney Rock. We had never seen the view before at night which was pretty cool. You could see all the city lights far off in the distance. It was a bit nerve racking in a few places when the light from the headlamp disappeared when aimed to the side of the trail. Pretty sharp drop offs in a few places. One misplaced foot could have lead to endless tumbles down the side of the mountain. The trekking poles really helped alot when the wind would try to push you off the mountain. The wind was pretty fierce near the summit so we sat behind a rock and made dinner around 8 or 9pm. It was pretty cool to sit at the top of the mountain and look out over the view while eating dinner.
    Day2b.jpg

  2. #2
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Part 2

    Once are food settled, we begin hiking up for the next peak and continued on for another couple of hours and took another break. This stretch was pretty level except for a small descent and a quick sharp climb up bee mtn.
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    After we hit Bee Mtn it was just a short trek to the campsite. We rolled into camp about 1am and tried be as quite as possible as the area was full of ground dwellers and didnt want to wake anybody. Lots of hammock spots to hang from but was a challenge to find one that was decent distance from a tent. The leaves were very loud and we really didnt want to wake anybody. We eventually found a spot that was about 20 yrds from the nearest tent and set up our hammocks. It was very windy and I am glad I had snakeskins on my tarp with self-tensioning guylines. Made for super easy setup in high winds. Had my whole system dialed in in under 8mins, including tarp. Normally that wouldnt be impressive to me but the high steady winds and strong gusts make things alot harder to do.
    Day2d.jpg

    Woke up around 8am the next morning and headed to the shelter located at the trail intersection. Saw a few familiar faces that we say the day before. Had a good chat till around lunch and offered a ride to a guy we bumped into the previous day, back to his car at the other end of the trail. Cant remember his name be he was a pretty nice guy.

    I must say, it was quite refreshing to hike the Three Ridges Trail again. I really enjoyed hiking it at night. I will admit it was abit dangerous in a number of places and doing things at night just amplifies it but it made for a very exciting trip. I really enjoyed not worrying about making it to camp and just playing everything by the moment. I would never do this if I were alone and I suggest against it to anybody who is alone. I had a hiking buddy and that is the only reason I was ok with deviating from my itinerary that was left back at home.
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    This was my 2nd time hiking this trail and I plan to hike it for a 3rd time in the spring. I really enjoy this trail alot. If you ever plan to hike it, be prepared for a crowd to be there. It was 25F that Fri Night and there was still huge crowds of people everywhere. Personally, I think the best time to hike this trail is early spring but the Fall offered some great views from the ridges that are not normally available when the leaves are on the trees.

    Sorry for the lack of vista pictures. Most of our hiking was at night and the camera didnt do well in low light. Next time I will get more pictures during the day. I have plenty of photos from the Spring trip on previous Trip reports. Anyways, it was a flat out awesome adventure for us and a first for night hiking. This trail was a bit difficult like always but we found it much easier to hike it counter clockwise. Cant wait for the spring trip.

  3. #3
    Yoda's Avatar
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    Wonderful trip report X. Glad you two had a great time, see and I wasn't even there and it was an adventure....lol.....

    Here's hoping that I am able to make the next adventure.
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....
    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway
    It's always best if your an early riser!
    I like hiking as it's like exercise!

  4. #4
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Thanks, yeah really wish you could have joined us but lets hope your better when spring rolls around. I think you will enjoy this trek much more in the spring anyways.

  5. #5
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    Great writeup X, Thanks for the details. The night hiking sounds interesting.

  6. #6
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallPaul View Post
    Great writeup X, Thanks for the details. The night hiking sounds interesting.
    Thanks, it was a blast. I am really liking the idea of just winging it on trails that I have hiked before. We had so much more fun just playing it by ear and setting up camp whenever and wherever we wanted to.

  7. #7
    Yoda's Avatar
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    So since you did some night hiking, I am assuming that you used the new Vizz headlamp you got? How did it do? How was the beam? Distance? Spill? Color? How well did the red LED work in the woods (some are red but not enough power to see anything in the true darkness of the woods but anything up to your face) You know all that stuff.
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....
    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway
    It's always best if your an early riser!
    I like hiking as it's like exercise!

  8. #8
    Wanderlust78's Avatar
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    Wow. Sounds like it was an awesome trip. Now I'm even more bummed that I got sick. Nice report!
    Old Dominion Hangers

    Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R. Tolkein
    Besides, if we get lost, we just pull in somewheres and ask directions - Captain Ron

  9. #9
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Re: Three Ridges Trail - Hike-N-Hang

    The PT Vizz did great compared to all my previous headlamps. It has a much wider beam than the $26 Coleman max. The battery life is definitely better than any headlamp i have ever used. The red lamp is quite bright and more useful than other red lights i have used in the past. So far i am pretty happy with it. I think it was worth the $43. Its better than any other headlamp i have ever used.

  10. #10
    XTrekker's Avatar
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    Re: Three Ridges Trail - Hike-N-Hang

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderlust78 View Post
    Wow. Sounds like it was an awesome trip. Now I'm even more bummed that I got sick. Nice report!
    No worries. We will do it again in the spring.

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