Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Overnight Hike Up Old Rag Mountain

When Dennis and I first joined CrossFit Hydraulic one of the members was talking about getting up at 2am and hiking up a "local" mountain to see the sun rise.  This was something completely up Dennis and I's ally but the biggest issue with us was childcare.  With not enough notice it wasn't an option for us and as it turned out, nobody else went either. 

A few months later two DIFFERENT members posted this photo to FB:

This photo reminded us that the hike was something we wanted to do, but we wanted to hike overnight to see the sunrise at the summit.  Dennis' mom was planning on coming to VA to watch the kids so we'd thought we'd take advantage of that and do the hike Friday night into Saturday morning.

I was a bit nervous doing the hike after a long week of work and exercising and such, but I figured it was something I'd be able to handle.  

After getting home at 9pm from work, I took a quick nap and at 12:30am myself, Dennis, Brennan, and Paul were en route to Old Rag Mountain.  

With all the excitement, none of us slept on the way there and it was fun energized car ride despite the time.  We arrived at the park at 2am and our adventure began.  

The first thing we noticed were the stars.  They were amazing and we hadn't even started the hike.  We knew the trail head was about a mile from the parking lot and off we went, semi guessing that we were headed in the right direction.  Until we spotted this:

Phew!  The last thing I wanted to do was hike in the wrong direction so this little sign made me feel 100% better.  

About 10 minutes into our hike - we all were like holy crap - it's humid and within minutes we were all just covered in sweat.  We also learned that whoever was first in line would walk into all the spider webs and whoever was last would get all the bugs in their face.  This was only the beginning of our adventure.   

Once we got to this sign, the hiking turned from a walk into a mixture of climbing, squeezing through places, and a hunt for the trail markers.  Although challenging, we were all having a blast!  We occasionally stopped and turned off our headlamps to gaze at the sky and the starts were truly amazing. I haven't seen a sky full of stars like that since living in Vermont and it was nice to appreciate them!  Clearly getting to the point of slap happy (We all were making bone head comments at this point), we were getting closer to where we wanted to be for the sunrise. 

We only lost the trail twice (both times kinda scary and at one point I thought we lost Dennis for good) but with the help of 3 girls that we caught up with, we were on the right path.  

We found and awesome spot to set up shop until the sun came up and we popped open a bottle of bubbly and ate some bagels too! 

 Once the sun was up, we were ready for the journey home.  Or so we thought.  The way down was LONGER than the way up and let me tell you this, it was borderline torture.   

The way home was a down incline, but it was just so long and boring, and we had been walking for what seemed like forever, our bodies were starting to ache.  FINALLY we got back to our car and we were all in such disbelief as to how many people were STARTING the hike as we were finishing it.  Seriously, it was a constant stream of people from the parking lot and cars were lined up to get in.  

Overall - this was the most fun I've had in a really long time.  It was slightly out of my comfort zone, but I was willing and able which made me happy.  Some of our notable quotes (that will only be funny to our little hiking group) are as follows:

The moment in the car ride when Karen and Dennis admitted to not drinking or ever trying coffee.  

Dennis ruining his shirt within 1 second of the hike with bug spray. 

While gazing at the hundreds of stars, "It's so beautiful, and not a star in the sky"

"I'm drunk because I don't have a stomach"

"I can't believe you even brought whipped cream"

On the way down after a few hours of walking we came up to a stream and a bridge, "I won't, I can't"

After the drive home (which thankfully included a short nap) Dennis and I put on our drinking hats and attended a Brewfest that we had been looking forward to for months!  We O'Donnell's do not mess around!