Less than two hours drive from the capitol is a gorgeous hiking area in the Shenandoah National Park of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I say two hours but that is without traffic and as we are all taught in school Interstate 66 always has traffic so give yourself at least five hours driving time.
Nick and I left Washington DC in the early morning in my car and after arriving in the parking area of the Old Rag hiking trail we laced up our hiking boots and set off to conquer 1,000 meter hunk of rock and trees.
Now I consider myself in good physical shape but I wasn’t prepared for this hike. Right from the beginning the trail goes pretty much vertical with severe switchbacks. Nick and I consulted each other about going back for climbing gear but decided to press on. After multiple breaks on the way up to take in the sheer beauty of the area, or perhaps just to catch my breath, or dare I say a combination of the two, we arrived at a rock wedged into a crevice with space to walk through underneath. After taking the obligatory photo of me holding the rock up we cracked on.
Up and down the trail we continued, making little excuses to stop from time to time. I need to tie my laces. Look at this spider web. This plant and/or rock is interesting. Lets just take this view in for a few minutes. You know the drill. After a few hours we came out in a rocky outcropping near the summit. Here we took yet another little break to fill our bellies with home made gourmet sandwiches and water before turning around and retracing our steps back to the car park.
Do not be under the impression that this is some lonely trail where you will be alone at the end of the world. Though it is forest as far as you can see, the trail is well worn and fellow hikers will be greeting you the whole way up and back down. But enough of nature for today. It is time to get back to the city and get my aching body into a hot bath.