Trip Report: Priest + Spy Rock + Pi(e)

Posted by Dave MacLuskie on

With 3-14-15 occurring on a weekend it was hard to pass up another "Pi(e) Day" outing. The group showed up promptly and we got camp setup at Tye River before the real rain started. The "heavy rain" that was predicted never seemed to materialize and the precipitation had all but stopped by morning.

We hit the trail and began the long line up the Priest. It's not overly steep but it's pretty relentless. It just never seems to end! We regrouped about 2/3 up to enjoy the view. We had just broken above a cloud layer and had some vistas (of more clouds). I was so warm I was ready to break down to shorts and a t-shirt.

After the respite we hit the trail just as a cold rain and colder wind kicked up. The rest of the climb was in heavy fog. The views from the top were clouded out and we regrouped at the shelter for a water top off. After a 20 minute break the rain had died off again and we hit the trail again for Spy Rock.

We hit another dry patch than another wet patch, arriving in a steady rain. Tents were pitched and everyone disappeared for a couple hours to wait it out. I got in a nice nap. By 4:30 it was dry again and Sharon reported no more rain on the forecast.

Melissa, Charlie, Shaun, and I carefully climbed the wet steep side of Spy Rock and got a glimpse of some views amid heavy winds before heavy clouds blew in again.

With some effort and help from Melissa's fire starting kit we got a fire going, built up some coals and backed an apple pie while we cooked dinner. I'm pretty sure Evan ate in bed and feel asleep again. The climb can really take it out of you!

We all went to bed early as the winds grew stronger. Sharon was up around 10 to fix a tent peg. I was up around 2 for the same reason. I did tolerate a few minutes of cold and wind to enjoy the brilliant stars in the crystal clear sky. Our sun-rise wake up was a bit of a bust. There weren't a lot of takers to climb Spy Rock in the cold, dark, and bitter wind. Fortunately with the lack of tree cover we caught a nice show from the comfort of our wind-deformed tents. I was a bit concerned by the entire lack of Charlie's tent which was up at 2am but entirely down by about 6:30 am. I didn't quite catch that story.

We departed in shifts with a plan to rendezvous at the Priest shelter. Melissa, Shaun, and Evan didn't care to attempt breakfast in the wind and were going to cook at the shelter. Sharon, Charlie, and I took off a bit later

My little incident occurred about a mile or so from the Priest shelter, prior to the AT crossing the dirt road. I had thought the twisted ankle was just a tweak, but the snapping sound had been ominous. I soon realized something more than a tweak had occurred. I got word to Charlie, passed off my car key, and asked him to catch Sharon. When I caught up we established that I would descend down the dirt road to the Upper Crabtree falls lot and hope to catch a ride. If I failed, I'd hike the rest of the way down to the lower lot (about 3 miles). Sharon would go with the others and come pick me up. She pulled in about 15 minutes after I got to the bottom so that worked out well.

Everyone else made the long descent down the Priest and arrived just as Sharon and I got back to the AT parking lot. We skipped Devil's Backbone given my desired to get home and get an x-ray. Sorry guys!

With the sup-par weather conditions and rather disappointing views given the clouds this could have been a bust but I really enjoyed the company and was glad folks came along. Everyone seemed quite chipper considering the circumstances. Congrats to Melissa, Shaun, and Evan for completing their first DC UL adventure in fine form. Maybe we'll try again with better conditions and fewer broken bones.

One "lesson learned" that I would do differently next time is send someone with the injured person. I wasn't in too much pain and was pretty cranky about the injury so I didn't think about it at the time. In retrospect if I had fallen on the descent all alone things could have gotten much worse. Sharon knew my route, and I had all my gear, but it could have been a more serious ordeal. Next time I'll ask for an "exit buddy" even if I don't think I need it.

Joffrey Peters posted on

Glad you got some pie! Sorry you had crappy weather, and luck. How's the ankle? Did you get that X-Ray?

Dave MacLuskie posted on

I ended up with an avulsion fracture of the proximal 5th metatarsal. It's cracked but still in one piece. I get to wear a walking boot with crutches for 4 weeks and get another x-ray. It could be a lot worse. The doctor suspects it'll be ok since I managed to backpack down the mountain and the x-ray looks the way it does.

I gather it's a very common break and they tend to heal well. My foot is still a bit swollen and tender but it doesn't hurt (unless you poke it).