On Sunday Mike and I went out to hike Old Rag, a small mountain, but a toughy. We did the circuit route, starting with the Ridge Trail rock scramble up to the summit. Mike's done the hike twice without me and thought that the rocks would build up my wilderness confidence. I have to admit, I was freaked out in a couple places. You can't see all the footholds and have to just put your foot down and hope it sticks to something. I didn't have the arm strength to pull myself out of every crevice. At one point boy scouts gave me a boost from behind. (Thank you, nice boy scouts!) Eventually you get to a beautiful vista, only to notice that there's yet another pile of rocks in your path. You're not at the top yet. (That happens at least 3 times.) But eventually I got to the top. Mike was proud of me and I was glad I did it.
The trail was crowded and there were lots of back ups along the rocks. We decided to take the easier path back down toward the fire road rather than climb down through the rocks. It was kind of a long and boring walk though, after the trek up.
Two days later and I'm still a bit sore, but in a good way.
Old Rag is less than 2 hours from D.C., in the northeast part of Shenandoah National Park. The entrance fee is $8/person and you get a permit good throughout the park for 7 days .The circuit route we did is 8.8 miles, not including the walk from the parking lot to the trail head. It's challenging. You need a small pack (for squeezing through narrow passes), but lots of water and snacks. Long pants are good for protection from the rocks. You can do an out-and-back route of the fire roads if you prefer to skip the rock scrambling.
More pictures at flickr.
("Confidence Man 2" is a part Tobias auditions for on Arrested Development.)
Programming Note: This afternoon I'm getting my Burundi vaccinations! Stay tuned for news on how that goes. There's bureaucracy involved, so I'm sure it will go smoothly.