I’ve been itching to go backpacking since my July trip to Panthertown Valley. Four months later, and just two months after shoulder surgery, I got to scratch my itch in the Three Ridges Wilderness, located in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. My buddy, Coop, mapped out a sweet 18.5-mile hike with elevations ranging from 1,000′ to 3,790′ at the summit of Three Ridges Mountain.
Given my recent surgery and even more recent return to running I was a little concerned with my ability to complete the fairly difficult hike. But really, what’s the worst that could happen? Besides the 18.5 miles of hiking and nearly 10,000′ of elevation gain, I put considerable thought into choosing between a tent or a hammock. The forecast called for rain on Saturday with 20MPH winds and nighttime temps in the mid-20s. And Sunday, nighttime temps were forecasted to be in the mid-20s with 15MPH winds. A bit of research on cold weather hammock camping (and an ENO Blaze Hammock Underquilt) later I decided that I would hike by day and swing between two trees at night.