Monday, October 21, 2013

Old Rag: Back Open for Business

After seventeen days' respite during one of the busiest times of the year, Old Rag - and the rest of the National Park System - is back open for business. I expected that this past weekend, normally one of the busiest of the whole year, would be absolutely insane. I figured that everyone who had wanted to hike the mountain over the past two weekends would be out. I don't know what Saturday was like, other than hearing reports that it was pretty busy, but yesterday was surprisingly quiet, for Old Rag, at least. The parking lot certainly filled, but the crowd was pleasant and friendly.

A new volunteer joined us and we did our normal fall weekend routine: Walk up the fire road against the prevailing hiking direction. The fire road is beautiful this time of year, with bright yellow tulip poplars lining both sides of it. Hiking the opposite direction of most people allows us to avoid the long lines at various choke points in the rock scramble and it allows us to find out what is going on above us on the mountain by chatting with descending hikers. We lingered on the summit for quite a while and, once we decided the crowds had thinned, descended through the rock scramble. It was a nice fall day to be out on the mountain and it was a great day for another reason. Believe it or not, I haven't summitted Old Rag in almost a year due to a foot injury that stubbornly refused to heal through the spring. It is on the mend now and it is wonderful to be back in the woods.

A maple leaf near the summit.
Looking south from the summit towards Fork Mountain.
Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel). This is the last flower of the year to bloom - a sure sign that winter will soon arrive.
Looking east from the summit and down the rock scramble.
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay Scented Ferns) in a crevice in the rock scramble.
Fall colors at the spot where I always take a picture.
The view from the first false summit in the fading sunlight.


  1. Lovely pictures! Old Rag is a special place.

  2. Sorry I missed crossing paths on Sunday. Glad the foot is getting better. Your pictures are awesome. I liked them all. I could imagine the smell of the Hayseed Fern, enjoyed this presentation of the S turn, Witch Hazel, Maple Leaves, and landscapes. Rose told me she had 130 cars in the pasture on Saturday but only 30 on Sunday.