Thursday, February 21, 2013

Somewhere New: Old Rag Mountain - Shenandoah National Forest

For the month of November I decided to try Virginia's most popular but also most dangerous hike - Old Rag Mountain. Joined by Brittney and Rachel, I ascended over 3,000 feet on the last beautiful day of the fall. And so did everyone else.

It's absolutely no joke that this is a popular hike. When we got to the parking lot in the morning, still groggy and having just watched a magnificent sunrise over the rolling countryside, we were greeted by a packed lot and tour buses full of people.

Everyone and their grandmother want to hike this mountain it seems! We saw a particularly out of place man carrying a briefcase and wearing dress shoes...what? The truth is, this is a difficult hike and grandmas, small dogs, and business men shouldn't really be on this mountain... unless they are the super grandma we met wearing not much more than a sports bra, showing off her guns and racing her grandkids up the mountain. She was amazing.

Round trip this hike took us close to 7 hours - some of that being standing in line to get up the mountain. You heard right. There are these great cracks and fissures running through the "rock scramble" portion of the trail that many people had issues with. The cracks are also so small that you can't pass someone so anytime there was a person who was stuck, or a person who was being a rebel and hiking the trail the opposite way, the line backed up down the mountain and we inched along through the scramble.

So why do people endanger themselves and stand in line? The views are incredible! The sense of accomplishment we felt getting to the top and not having twisted an ankle, lost our temper at line holder-uppers, or giving up due to leg fatigue was worth it all.

Take my advice, set aside a full WEEK day to do this, you won't regret it. Even if you have to ice your quads the rest of the night like poor Brittney!