A day hike was calling our names.
We figured we should try and make a trip up to the mountains before our schedule gets busy with a few trips down to Florida to attend some weddings before the years end.
I got off work around 10 p.m. Friday night and we left the house only a few hours later at 2 a.m. to make the drive to Shenandoah. So only sleeping on the way up for a few hours it was already a long day. But sleepiness passed once we got up the mountain and the excitement of the day was ahead.
My barley noticeable pack to the boys bulky load
It was only about 5:30 a.m. when we begun our hike, so head lights on, and we were off. I normally carry a pack that is about 26 lbs but since this was only a day hike I got to pack light. (Which made for a happy Rachael!) Only water, snacks, and a jacket for the top of the mountain, I felt like I was flying up the trail with no extra weight. Hubby and friend were not flying, however, because they had 56-60 lbs in their packs for training purposes. Plus hubby was carrying a sledge hammer again for the extra weight benefits. So many raised eyebrows were sent our way and some even coming up to ask what was with all the extra gear.
Since we had done this trail before on one of our backpacking trips I knew the benefits I was gaining with a lighter pack with all the rock scrambling we were doing and tight spaces we had to crawl through.
With minutes to spare we made it the 4.7 miles to the top. A fog was lying over the city below, we could see the start of the leaves changing on the mountain side, the birds were starting to wake and sing their morning song. And then the sun started to rise. I can never get tired of this view and seeing the cotton candy skies start to come alive.
We weren’t the only ones who decided to watch the sunrise that Saturday morning. There were couples ahead, and three brothers right ahead of us on the trail up, all coming out to appreciate nature’s beauty.
With it light out now we continued up to do the part of the trail that was all rock scrambling. Like I said I was zipping through with my tiny pack and this time more confident jumping from rock to rock and climbing over the rocks. Last time I was a bit slow holding up the group with my timidness of trusting myself not to fall off the side or through the cracks. It was a beautiful climb, though, everything was golden, the trees, the rocks, from the morning glow. Only what could be captured through the human eye (or at least not on my iPhone’s camera!).
As always the climb down the mountain was a breeze. Finishing the rest of the 5.3 miles at 10:30 in the morning. From the fire road you have to take a main road to the parking lot which is lined with houses. There was an older lady who had a lemonade stand in front of her house for the passing through hikers. Later in the day she said she fired up the grill to sell hot dogs too. The boys got a lemonade and I sipped on some fresh apple cider! Just what we needed after our hike.
When we got to the parking lot the empty lot from the morning was now overflowing with cars. We mus have passed over a 100 people walking up the road form the lot to start their hike. Glad we started early to miss all the hustle and bustle on the trails.
It’s nice to escape to the mountains even if it is just for a few hours. Let your mind wander or not. Don’t have to worry about the business of everyday life or what is next on your to-do list. All you have to do is just BE. BE in the present moment. BE on top of the mountain.
Have you hiked Old Rag or been to Shenandoah? Where is your favorite trails to hike? Let me know in the comments.