Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Priest

If your just itching to go uphill forever, and by forever I mean for 3,100 ft, get out and climb the Priest. Starting from the Tye River parking lot about 5 miles east of Crabtree Falls, you can get a whole week's workout in without boring yourself at the gym. We summit this mountain very regularly to train for more strenuous hikes abroad. I love the solitude and the challenge. 

This hike is a straight up four miles and back down without much of interest along the trail. The view at the top is nice, but I personally like the view at Three Ridges much better. We don't hike this trail for the views as much as for the challenge. There aren't other climbs this tricky around this area. I love the feeling of accomplishment of reaching the top after two plus hours of strenuous climbing. Be warned though, the climb is very tough and the weather up top is not the same as the parking lot. We've headed up on a decent winter day only to experience freezing rain at the top.

If you want to do a shorter version, you could hike to the first viewpoint, about two thirds of the way up. I actually enjoy this view more than the view from the top. One time, we ran into an older couple at this spot on the trail. The husband was ahead and asked us how much further to the top. When we told him another mile and a half or so, he waited for his wife and lied to her, "This is it honey, you made it!" We smiled and agreed that she had indeed reached the top. 
The first viewpoint about two thirds of the way up
If you have any trouble with hiking down, bring poles. Even if I'm not carrying a big pack, I prefer to have poles for this descent. My knees always hate me the following day, whether or not I used poles. John and I always joke that they need to install a zipline from the top down to the parking lot.

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