Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Old Rag: Late Spring Flowers and Crowds

We volunteered on Old Rag on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. It was the usual crazy, someone released the flying monkeys before we got there, busy day on the mountain. The parking lot was mostly full by the time we got there. The neighbor was already out waiting to collect $10 cash for a spot in her field from anyone who couldn't find a parking spot.

We hiked up the fire road rather than wait in lines on the Ridge Trail. After being out west for a couple of weeks, everything seemed so green. Most of the spring flowers have faded, but we were still rewarded for our efforts by a few flowers, particularly near the summit. We spent some time on the top of the mountain before heading down through the rock scramble. I always like descending the Ridge Trail in the evening this time of year. As another volunteer noted, it is like being in the store after it is closed. Very few people ascend in the evening, so it is quiet and peaceful - a very rare experience for most people on Old Rag.
 Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomon's Seal) on the Saddle Trail
 A recent fire scar. Fires aren't allowed outside of established fire rings and pits in Shenandoah National Park, but someone felt the need to build a fairly large one near the trail. We spent a few minutes covering this one up and scattering the leftover wood lest someone else be "inspired."
 A couple of views from the summit. This is looking northwest towards Pinnacles and Mary's Rock.
 Looking down the mountain from the summit.
The spot where I always take a picture near the summit.
 Cypripedium acaule (Pink Lady Slipper).
Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

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