Above: Old Rag Mountain Summit at sunrise.
For my upcoming birthday this weekend, as I stumble well into my 30’s, we’ll be proving that I can still be as awesome as I was in my 20’s and hiking up one of the most popular climbs in the mid-Atlantic region. Otherwise known as Old Rag, which I will prove that I am not, it’s a 5.5 hour, steep 2,000 feet ascent with a lot of boulder scrambling, so this is no walk in the woods. I’ve been forewarned by many that it’s not a beginner’s hike and I need to be in some shape, which fortunately my half-marathon training has been put to good use. Not so sure how I’ll fare on upper body strength, hauling myself over rocks. I am also not sure how this compares to Half Dome in Yosemite, which was mostly walking uphill and then downhill for 12 hours with some rocks that were conveniently shaped like stairs, followed by the scary cable-climb at the last 500 feet.
So we’ll be heading down to the Shenandoah Valley on Friday for a little car-camping within the national park and then up early on Saturday to beat the crowds and start our ascent as the sun comes up. There are apparently crazies who start at 3 in the morning to catch the sunrise at the summit, but doing after a couple of adventure races that began in the middle of the night and hiking through the dark – well, in my 30’s I’ve also developed a surprising sense of let’s-not-be-stupid-anymore. Apparently the views on Old Rag are phenomenal, and it will be mid-October, just as leaves start to turn. Of course, I’ll post pictures and an update afterwards!