Old Rag Mountain

Hiking Old Rag Mountain (in the middle of nowhere, VA) has been on my list of things to do since I went to school in Charlottesville.  I’d read enough about it to know that it’s no joke.  An 8.8 mile loop that climbs over 3,000 feet and includes a rock scramble section that is not for the faint of heart (or lack of arm strength).  It scores a perfect 10 on the scenic views scale and is just a lot of fun.

The descriptions all warn against attempting the climb on pretty Fall weekend days because it gets overrun with people.  There are sometimes lines to wait in the rock section and there is no solitude.  The sites suggest hiking on a weekday and going early to beat the crowds.  So I decided I would make good use of my teacher workday on Monday and go then!

I set off from home at 5:30am and arrived in the (almost) empty parking lot at 7:00am.  Not only was it not crowded, but there was only a single truck in the far corner of the lot.  Well, I certainly avoided the people.  I took off up the climb and just enjoyed the cool, early morning.  As I rose in altitude, I got glimpses of the view to come.  I cruised up most of the incline, and hit the rock section.  My (limited) rock-climbing skills came in handy as I had to attempt a few sections more than once because of my short legs.  There were no other people to be found, so I used caution to avoid an injury in the woods.

I got a little tired after that and the final push to the summit was quite tiring.  Especially since my right hip-flexor  had started to pinch.  But I made it up in 2 hours and 20 minutes.  After taking a ton of pictures, I headed back down the other side.  I passed two stewards on the return trip (both over 60 and volunteering their time to keep the trails safe).  I made it back to the car just before 11:00am, which made for a much faster decent (no rocks!).  Then I jumped in the car and headed to work.  All-in-all, this was a great hike and well worth it.  I was glad it wasn’t crowded, but if I attempted again I would take a hiking buddy just to help pass the time.  In the meantime, enjoy some of my pictures below!

This way to the mountain!

Love the branches in the foreground.

The morning sun rises over the Shenandoah Valley.

Just love this shot.

The man of the mountain.

My state is prettier than yours.

Simply stunning.

Been here, done this 🙂

Heating up as the sun comes up.

Done and done. The trailway home.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. MoJo+R
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 22:41:39

    Looks like fun! We take issue with the “my state is prettier than yours” comments. 🙂



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