Monday, June 21, 2010

Hanging Out on Old Rag (or More Training with ORMS)

You know it is going to be a hot day when it is 80 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave the house at 7 a.m.  By the time we got to the Old Rag parking lot, it was already sizzling hot.  The water we had thoughtfully remembered to chill in our camelbacks the night before was already warming up from the drive down.  The forecast for DC was 96 degrees.  The parking lot was only about a quarter full, though, so it looked like it might be a quiet day.

We went up the Ridge Trail, stopping to take pictures of a few flowers.  The Ridge Trail is actually pretty sheltered from the prevailing direction of wind.  That is pretty nice in the winter, but it was a bit stifling yesterday.  We stopped at Bartender Spring, dipped a bandana into the cold water and squeezed it out over our heads.  Instant morale boost.  The next big boost came when we arrived at the rock scramble to discover a cool breeze blowing.  We hair plus a cool breeze is perfect on a hot day.

We made our way to the summit where we met up with the rest of the Mountain Stewards on duty.  The training for the day was safely rappelling down the summit wall.  We spent the afternoon practicing using different equipment and learning how to slow or stop our descents.

By the time we were finished, no one else was left on the summit.  On the way down the Weakley Hollow Fire Road we encountered only two other people. The solitude and quiet are a rare treasure on Old Rag.   

Pictures (click to enlarge):
An interesting fungus on the Ridge Trail.

Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh).  This plant is almost six feet tall.

The S-curve near the summit.

Our lead Mountain Steward taught me how to use an autoblock (sp?) to stop my descent on a rappel.  This allowed me to take my camera down with me and stop to take pictures.  This picture is taken from about one-third of the way down the wall.

My shadow on the wall.

A different kind of bootshot - my boots on the summit wall.

While waiting for my turn to rappel, I got out the telephoto lens and tried to catch the ravens as they soared on thermals.

A large patch of Amianthium muscaetoxicum (Fly Poison) below the summit wall.

One of the rarest sights on Old Rag on a sunny day:  no one on the summit, but us.

Anemone quinquefolia (Wood Anemone) along the Fire Road.

I haven't been able to figure this flower out yet.  If I identify it, I'll post a correction.  Geum canadense (White avens).  The leaves are alternate and toothed and the plant is about 2 1/2 feet tall. 

On our way home, we noticed Old Rag in the rear-view mirror, just north of Sperryville.

1 comment:

  1. Love that picture of the fungus! Beautiful!