Old Rag

I have never been that much of an outdoorsy person. Definitely not a huge risk taker. But this blog has changed all that. This Saturday my friends Alyson, Emily and I hiked Old Rag. My grandparents had a cabin right near here when I was growing up, and I remember lots of talk about Old Rag and I thought maybe I had climbed it, but I am pretty sure I never had before.

In fact, I haven’t done many hikes that take longer than an hour to go up. That’s what I thought Old Rag would be like. The night before I started looking up the hike online and started to get a little nervous about what I had agreed to do. Everything I read described the hike as very difficult and I am not a very skilled/experienced hiker.

When I woke up in the morning, I must have forgotten all that I read because I left the house with 24 ounces of water, an apple and a packet of peanut butter.

When we got to the mountain, the real parking lot was full, so we parked in Robert and Rosie’s yard. They sure have made lemonade out of lemons:

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Robert and Rosie were out there themselves directing traffic. Impressive, really. If I were the Lillards, I might have gotten mad about the high density of people flooding my country estate each weekend.

We set off with great expectations. Alyson brought a headlamp, gloves and a hat-just in case. She too brought very little food. Emily had none. We were easily the most over-prepared/under-prepared people on the trail.  Nothing a good long look at the map wouldn’t fix.

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The first half of the hike is hard, but not really. It is climbing a mountain, a Virginia mountain. You just keep going and going up.

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We reached a summit like point after about an hour of this and thought that all the stuff on the internet was hype that we must be a lot more intense than we thought. Because we reached the “summit” I thought now was a good time for my lunch:

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Note to self, always bring more food than this. This experience would have been the perfect time for me to indulge my love of trail mix. Instead I was left sweeping my finger around that pack trying to get every last drop of peanut butter out.

We soon realized we weren’t anywhere close to the top, so we continued on. The second half of the hike is what the experts call: rock scrambling.  I have never done anything like this before. There were blue spray painted arrows on rocks that led me up and down all over the face of the mountain.

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This was the hardest part, as you can note by the hold up of people. Up above where those people are I was throwing my legs over rocks and pivoting around them like I never would have imagined.

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We then reached what we thought was the summit again. Alyson and Emily left to climb a boulder and I sat feeling like this:

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We soon realized we again were wrong and kept going.IMG_0097

After over 2 hours of hiking, we finally reached the top. It was incredibly windy at the top. So windy I thought I might actually get blown over. After checking out all the views, we decided to head back down the fire road. Sure, it is 2 miles longer, but I am pretty sure my body couldn’t handle doing any more scrambling.

When we finally reached the end, but legs were aching but more importantly, my stomach was crying out for food. I was so tempted to stop by this guys R.V., but decided to go to 5 guys instead. Another note to self: if you have hardly eaten anything all day and go to 5 guys, don’t deceive yourself by ordering a little cheeseburger, get the double,  or you will be back in line ordering another. This can be a little embarrassing.

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What a great day!

-Hannah

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