..and the orange shirts are back on Old Rag!
Historically, our very busiest time of year..the mountain is full of folks taking advantage of cooler temperatures to come see the changing colors of the leaves! A spectacular experience indeed!
In the interest of making your trip more enjoyable and memorable (because of a good experience) please remember a couple of things:
- With the cooler days and changing seasons, it also means that the days are shorter.. and while 8.00pm was still light a month ago, now, it's anything but. Remember to start your hike a bit earlier than you would in the summer, and also, BRING A LIGHT SOURCE. The trails are well marked, so it needn't be huge or heavy, usually just a lightweight LED/flashlight is adequate.. but a headlamp is best.
- Even though it's cooler and you may not FEEL like you are perspiring as much, your body will still lose a fair amount of fluid while hiking (this holds true throughout the winter as well). we have more dehydrated folks in Fall than any other time! Continue to bring 2-3 liters of water per person while hiking Old Rag.
-For those of you hiking in large groups, especially with children, use the buddy system, and have designated meet up points about every mile or so. This will help avoid the issues, worries and stress of separated parties.. those are no fun for anyone
-with the changing seasons comes changing weather.. be ready for it. This usually is experienced in two ways:
THUNDERSTORMS.. while it may be memorable, Old Rag summit is NOT the place to be during a lightening event!
and COOLER , BREEZIER conditions on the summit.. usually 10-15 degrees cooler than where you came from.. DRESS IN LAYERS, and bring layers..
-and lastly, if this is your first hike on Old Rag. don't feel sheepish about asking either the Park Service staff at the contact station or any of the Mountain Stewards you may encounter for information or advice.. it is always easier to prevent issues than solve them.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO HAVE A REALLY NICE DAY ON OLD RAG!
If you are really tired by the time you reach the first "summit", consider just enjoying the day there and heading down the same way you came up... (at that point you are only about 25% of the way thru the hike)
We look forward to seeing you on the mountain!