Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Climbing Old Rag Mountain

Last Saturday, a coworker invited myself and another coworker to climb Old Rag Mountain.  It's just a nice hike with a great view and going with friends should make it a good time.  Well, we decided to meet at his place early in the morning to get to the mountain early to beat any crowds.  We also picked up another guy from work so we had two veterans and two noobs.  

It was such a great hike, though it wore me out!  There were a few things I did wrong and I had excuses but some things I knew better.  

I wore pants (because I thought it would be colder but they came in handy when scrambling, protecting my knees), I wore a cotton long sleeve shirt (once again, thought it would be cold but I had nothing else, but it was light.  my wicking shirt reeked from running, never washed it so couldn't wear that), I should have brought some more water (I got so darn thirsty!)... I think that's it.  

Back to the hike.  It started out well enough.  A quick pace though.  And it's pretty much all uphill.  A few flat spots but really I was just working the entire time.  We stopped for a quick break over a lookout but packed up and moved on.  I was fine through all of that.

Then we hit the scrambling.  It was borderline bouldering at spots.  That's what got me.  I had to take little breaks for myself.  Man was I not ready for this much of a workout.  I am starting to run again but this was just too different for me to be very ready for it.

We got to the spot where we were going to rappel and gosh that felt good.  Finally taking a substantial break and being near the top the breeze was fantastic.  I found myself some shade and kicked back.  I felt bad for holding the other guys up but there were times I just didn't want to push myself.  I'd really rather enjoy it instead of truly bonking.

Rappelling was a blast and the hike back up wasn't bad.  I didn't feel nervous at all and I thought I would!  But I had faith in Dennis hooking everything up right.  Climbing is his main sport and he had safety's in space.  He also was an Army Ranger so I think he knows a few things about knots and stuff.

Then moving on toward the summit.  I just got steeper and steeper, having to scramble over boulders.  When we eventually made it I got my energy back.  Took a few pics and then it was time to head down.  Let's get off this rock!

Heading back down, a different way though, wasn't bad at all.  Though walking downhill that long really make you adjust your walk so your legs don't get sore!  It was almost as hard as going up because of all the control needed.

We ran into a lot of people on our way down and some said that if we saw the bear to just scare it away.  Yeah, they have a good number of black bears up here.  But they are mostly afraid of people.  Although, Dennis said he talked to some climbers recently that ran into a bear and it stood its ground instead of retreating.  That's not a good sign.  But we never saw it anyway.

Then after hopping in the creek to cool off (that cold water really brings your core temp down!) we were on our way back home.  

It was a great day.  Got some great exercise and had some great "bonding" with the guys.  I'm sure we'll do it again, or at least I will.  Maybe when Josh comes to town.

Read more about Old Rag: Hiking Upward

See more of my photos from the hike: Flickr

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