I wanted to get out of the house for a while and decided to hike up Old Rag. I think the last time I did this was a few years ago with my brother and Matt. I know it is rather fare up the mountain but once you get to the top the views totally make it worth the effort getting there. Even though it was still technically spring, the day was going to be hot and I should have left earlier but I didn’t. I think I got to the parking lot around 9:30 and I could tell it was already to late.
The trail for the most part is tree covered and provides excellent shade. Not until you get to the rock scramble and the summit are you exposed to the sun. The short walk from the parking lot to the trail head was a precursor to what was to come. It was hot and the humidity was almost unbearable. Getting up the mountain taking the rock scramble I had to stop about a dozen times for breaks. I am not as young or in shape as I once was and the mountain kicked my ass.
The air was sweet with strawberries and other fruits near the base of the mountain. It changed as I head up the mountain. Already hot in the sun however the shade is nice and cool. Humidity not yet that bad in the shade, excellent breeze through the trees in these lower elevations. Sound of stream or river to the right. Birds chirping to the early morning sun rise. I had forgotten what it was like to be out in the woods, surrounded by nature. The tranquility out here is great. Even though this is a well travel hike I still managed to find myself alone most of the time.
At least when I took breaks further up the mountain I got some great views. Once you get above the tree line the views are amazing. I would take breaks on rock out cropping and soak up the view, trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. One thing that is tricky this far up the mountain is following the trail. There are markers but at one point I found myself lost. I squeezed through a narrow passageway to a rock ledge and realized I was on the wrong path. Across a ravine I could see the trail markers. Here I decided to take another break and watch the other hikers as they made their way up the mountain.
Finally getting to the summit it was a bit crowded. I found a nice spot to relax overlooking the valley and ate my lunch. I wish I could have stayed longer but if I wanted to make it home at a reasonable hour I needed to get going. It must have taken me 4 hours to get to the top. On the way down I decided to complete the loop and took the fire road. It is a longer trip but I was exhausted and didn’t want to do the rock scramble back down.
A little over halfway down the mountain I ran out of water. The two litters I had went quickly and I wish I had brought a bottle with me. I managed to trudge along down the winding fire road back to the parking lot. I had a bottle of water stashed in my car, it was hot as crap but I almost finished the 1-litter of water I was so thirsty. I also made it back just in time as I could see storm clouds rolling in from the south east.
I drove home for the most part in the rain. My legs where tired and I was still thirsty but it was a good hike up Old Rag. Finally sitting in my car it made me realize how out of shape I really am. I would like to think I will work out more to be better prepared but that wont happen. I am still make it up the mountain and glad I can. The views from the top are great and worth all the blood and sweet.