True Fact: Charles and I have gone hiking 3 times more this summer than I’ve gone in my entire life.
With our focus on having a more active lifestyle, hiking seemed like a great way to be outside and take in nature while exercising and last week, Charles, Tarek and I went and conquered the hike up to the top of Old Rag Mountain.
We got up early Sunday morning, ate breakfast and then drove an hour to Shenandoah National Park where Old Rag is located. It wasn’t long before we had a clear view of the climb we were going to embark on. We eventually found ourselves at the lot, paid the parking fee, used the bathroom (a.k.a. porta potties) and made the walk over to where the path for the hike began.
^^ See that rocky mountain peak? That’s the top of Old Rag. You can imagine how nervous I was starting to get when I realized that that was how high were going to be – said the girl who has a fear of heights.
^^ The only cute pic you’re going to see of me in today’s post… The hike up to Old Rag is about 9 miles at a straight incline with lots of rock scrambling on the way up to the summit = I was a sweaty mess the entire way up annnd down haha. #isweatlikeaman
The first part of the hike, we walked up a winding, dirt path at a steep incline for about an hour. This was right around the time that we took a break to drink some water and eat some snacks to keep our energy up for the second part of the hike = The rock scramble…
^^ That happy look on my face was before I realized what I had actually gotten myself into because this rock scramble would be better described as a rock climb in some of the harder parts.
^^ Tarek guiding me through where I needed to place my feet and hands to get up.
^^ On our way up, I got a boo boo on my pinky finger. I had scraped it on one of the rocks but the skin on my finger didn’t tear so blood was building up under the skin and the pressure was painful. Thankfully, Tarek had a swiss army knife with him. So I closed my eyes while Tarek cleaned the knife and cut through the skin on my finger so the blood would come out (I don’t do good with blood). We cleaned it with a drop of hand sanitizer (wooo, it burnnnnnned!) and Charles wrapped up my pinky finger with a band-aid and a kiss.
Crisis averted, we continued on with the hike to the top sometimes leaping over crevices to get to where we needed to go. We also stopped a few times along the way to rehydrate and take in the views as we climbed higher and higher.
^^ I wasn’t sure whether I should post this pic but in honor of ‘keeping it real’, this was how I was feeling at the time (#FUOldRag). I was tired and my muscles were starting to cramp up during the last leg of the hike… The entire time, I was thinking, “Why the hell did I decide to do this hike?” and “WTF?! My butt is burning soooo bad!” lol.
Thankfully right when I thought my legs were going to give out, we came upon this beautiful sign!
^^ We made it to the summit!
^^ Feeling really proud of myself for making it to the top.
^^ As you can tell, someone was dead haha.No lie, I almost cried from happiness and exhaustion when we got to the summit.
^^ Jack Brown, James Black & Yellow Cake – Conquering The World One Mountain At A Time. :)
A Few Tips When Prepping To Hike Old Rag Mountain:
– Bring at least 2 quarts of water with you and pack snacks. The hike is strenuous and you will want to stay hydrated and keep your energy up. We also packed a couple sandwiches to eat when we finally got to the top.
– Wear hiking boots and thick socks. We wore regular sneakers and our feet were sooo beat up and sore (I had a few blisters) after the hike from walking/climbing on so many little and big rocks.
– Wear sweat wicking clothing and pack an extra shirt or set of clothes to change into after the hike is over because sitting in your sweaty clothes after the fact isn’t the best feeling.
– Hike with a group, not by yourself. There are certain areas of the hike where we had to help each other get up and over certain inclines. I definitely would not have made it up the mountain by myself. Also, be prepared to touch someone’s butt in your group at some point because you never know when someone will need a friendly push. :)
– Bring a first aid kit with you because safety first.
– Pay attention to the blue blazes (blue paint on the trees and rocks). Those blue blazes will let you know if you’re going in the right direction. Also, some of them had numbers underneath the paint… Pay attention to those numbers because, in case anything happens and you need to call the park police, these numbers will help them locate where exactly you are on the mountain.
As crazy and hard as this hike was, nothing beat the feeling of accomplishment when we finally made it to the top. Charles and I definitely plan to go on more hikes and add them to the itinerary as something to do when we travel, locally and abroad.
Have you ever gone hiking? Where did you go and how was your experience?0