Some may know this, others may not... but living a good 11+ hour drive from the White Mountains makes it kinda tough to feed the peak addiction, much less get in on completing "The List" or even "The Grid."
Last fall, one of my coworkers who hikes on occasion was surprised to hear that with all the hiking I've done, that I never hit our local Old Rag Mountain, in Shenandoah National Park. Feeling a little guilty for neglecting a peak in my own backyard, I headed out on a clear October morning to go check it out.
The loop begins with a half mile road walk from the parking lot up to the old lot by the trailhead. From there its a 2 mile trek through the woods and switchback until you get to the fun part of the mountain. The last mile (maybe a little more) has lots of fun and challenging rock scrambles, a slot you need to lower yourself down into with a little ledge walk, and even a cave that you have to pass through. The summit is pile of very large rocks that's fully exposed (something pretty rare for this area of the country).
The hike down to is along a nice rambling trail that passes by an old stone CCC built shelter just below the summit as well as a more traditional wooden shelter near where the trail meets the fire road that completes the walk back to the trailhead. Along the fire road, water can be seen and heard depending on the time of year, with three very nice arched foot bridges signaling the near completion of the hike.
This hike was enjoyable and challenging enough for me that I came up with my own self-challenge of creating the Old Rag Mountain 1x12 grid.
Over the past year, I feel like I've gotten to know this mountain well enough that I started referring to "our" hikes as a dance with her. I've been fortunate enough to see her in all the conditions of the year and each has its merits. Spring and fall bring the crowds looking to challenge themselves. I've enjoyed guiding strangers through the challenges that tend to become traffic jams. I've danced in the hot summer heat as well as in an impending blizzard in December when only one single other hiker was on the mountain.
This past weekend, on a foggy drizzly day, I completed the 1x12 challenge. As with most trips I picked up a couple hikers out for their first hike of the mountain and were happy as ever to have someone show them how to dance with this peak. And as teased elsewhere, I had a brand new hiking kilt that I was saving to debut on this hike.
And now for some pictures! Enjoy!
TheKiltedHiker (aka BlueDog)