We did it! We made it to the summit of Old Rag in the Blue Ridge Mountains of beautiful Virginia. On Saturday morning (4/2/16) at 9am, four other friends and I began our trip from Fairfax, VA to Shenandoah National Park about 2 hours away.
Once we arrived, we noticed many hikers equipped with legit looking backpack, boots, and other hiking gear while we were strapped with our Jansport from highschool (-_-). From the parking lot, we walked 30 minutes to the base of the mountain to begin the ascent. The hike begins with an up-hill trail for about 4 miles before reaching a rock scramble. Friends, that rock scramble is no joke. It is 1.1 miles of climbing, jumping, and crawling to maneuver through huge boulders. We were pretty exhausted at this point and often felt like turning back around. Every time we thought we reached the summit, it turned out to be a false summit.
Finally about 3 hours later.. we reached the top!
And that moment couldn’t have been any more perfect. It felt so rewarding and complete to enjoy that incredible view with great friends who encouraged and laughed with you all the way to the top. Breathtaking view, crisp air, and smiles all around = bliss.
After about 30-40 minutes at the top, we began our descent. It is a pretty easy downward trail that is about 4 miles long. Not to sound too dramatic, but we basically lost feeling from our waist down by the end of it. All I kept on thinking about was enjoying a nice, juicy burger once we got back to civilization. Everything was in pain, but the entire experience was totally worth it.
I would highly recommend this trip to a group of friends who want to enjoy a day doing something other than eating/drinking/spending money in the city. Plan on making a full day trip out of this; it took us about 5.5 hours to hike, 4 hours driving to and from, and then dinner afterwards. We had to entertain each other by actually talking face-to-face while sober (crazy, I know). Take a break from the usual and get out here to connect with nature and your friends 🙂
1. Bring lots of water! AT LEAST 1 liter per person, preferably 2.
2. Pack lots of snacks and a light lunch (granola bars, bananas, sandwiches, etc.)
3. If you’re going on a cooler day (<60º), pack a blanket so you can find a spot on the summit to snuggle and enjoy the view longer. It can get chilly up there!
4. Wear a sturdy pair of shoes. Hiking boots are preferred, but grippy sneakers will also work.
5. Don’t pack a lot or bring a huge backpack. It’ll be hard to move with during the rock scramble.
6. It’s not the hardest thing, but definitely not the easiest. Prepare yourself for strenuous activity but most importantly – take your time and have fun with it!
Comment if you’ve ever hiked Old Rag and tell me your experience! Would love to hear.