Recently I hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail near Three Rides Loop, and I'd like to offer a few simple observations from my experience.
For one, obviously, this is a beautiful portion of the trail. Multiple peaks are scattered along the trip, making it more complex than just hiking up to one single scenic view. Beautiful rivers lie along the trail, as do stone staircases that make you wonder who put the effort into setting them up. The trail is very secluded and quiet, and in early April it was pretty empty, we saw maybe 5 other people throughout the entire trip.
With the multiple peaks, multiple mountains must be climbed. The dreaded realization of noticing you were at the foot of yet another mountain that you had to climb was a constant impending doom along this section. The trail that I was on required climbing up along the river on steep jagged rocks, which was almost exceeding my abilities as a young healthy person, which says a lot about the intensity of the trail. In fact, though the trail wasn't very long in mileage, it took us about an hour to go one mile due to how carefully we had to climb in order to avoid slipping on the severe inclines. With the seclusion, injury is somewhat of a worry due to how easy it would be to slip and sprain an ankle or trip off the narrow winding path around the mountains and fall down the side of the mountain, though trees would most likely catch you on those parts. Rarely is there cell reception, which lends to the dark thoughts about how help would be obtained in the event of an injury.
I am a born worry-er, and therefore I always envision the worst outcomes of any situation. On the positive side, I did feel that this hike was beautiful, and the amount of effort that I had to put forth made the reward even more worth it. However, I feel that this is a hike that is more geared towards avid enthusiasts, and not young kids or new hikers. There're a great deal of big "steps" in which I was barely able to pull myself up to the next rock, although being 5'4 doesn't really help. Truthfully though, despite it being challenging, it was a great experience and DEFINITELY great exercise, not gonna lie my feet hurt for a week after coming home.
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