So I did it!
My first “real” hike was up Old Rag Mountain located in Shenandoah Virginia. I will honestly say that at this time, this was the hardest hike I had ever done. Old Rag is about a 9 mile hike, with some changes of elevation and a few rock scrambles that require some upper body strength. It took us about 7 hours to get up and down the mountain, and it was worth every minute once I got to the top. The summit of Old Rag is 3,291 feet and from the top you will be amazed by the beauty that surrounds you. Lucky for us it was a beautiful day, and we started early enough that the trail was not crowded at all. Next time, I’d like to get up to the top by sunrise – I am sure that is an amazing sight to see.
The friend I went with decided that as an introduction to “hiking” we should do the trail in reverse. What fun! The beginning started off in the middle of forest. It was quiet and green (and muddy) as we trudged up the side of the mountain. The initial climb is a pretty steady incline upwards with a few switchbacks here and there. Once we reached the tops of the tree coverage, the real fun started. The rock scrambles were awesome (and terrifying) for a girl who had never done anything like this before. There were a few times when I really had to think about my footing, speaking of — FOOTING — now, I did see some people do this hike in regular tennis shoes, however I would NOT advise it. If you are serious about rock climbing and hiking I suggest that you invest in a good pair of shoes. I purchased some Merrell’s for this hike (and my up and coming hiking adventure in Utah) and these shoes did NOT let me down. The biggest lesson I learned on this hike was —trust your shoes. I don’t know how many times we were climbing up rock and I thought I was going to slip or fall and it never happened. Whoever invented Vibram was a genius. Seriously, I felt like Spiderman at times and I am a clumsy girl.
My suggestions for this hike is try to go when you have good weather.
- Pack water and snacks – we actually ate lunch at the summit and it was so beautiful and peaceful.
- Bring a good camera (I wasn’t sure if I wanted to bring my DSLR and now I regret it).
- Wear the correct footwear (hiking or trail shoes are perfect for this).
- Take breaks as needed (it’s a longer hike.. enjoy every second).
- Keep a positive attitude. I know there were times when I had to use my non-existent upper-body strength and I thought I couldn’t do it. You can. and you will. and once you get to the top the feeling of accomplishment you get is priceless.
Old Rag is park of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is actually a National Park, so if you are in the Virginia or West WV Area get out there and do it! You won’t regret it!
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.