I climbed Old Rag for the first time today. It is unlike any other mountain in Shenandoah National Park. My friend and I got there in the early afternoon and parked in the main parking lot. We walked/jogged .8 miles to the trailhead, and took the wonderful rocky trail to the summit of Old Rag. We started in the woods. As we got up higher, the route got rockier. We climbed up some rocks and got our first 360 degree panaroma that blew my MIND! You could see the summit ahead, and the rocky regions that cover the lower portion of the mountain, and these boulders creep up the mountain and get bigger and bigger. We ventured through a maze of rocks and boulders. Some were class 2 boulder hopping, some were class 3, steep rocks that required tricky footholds. Through an obstacle course made of rock, the summit grew closer. Finally, we made it to the top, but the adventure still was not over! I had a rough time climbing the big boulders that make up the actual summit. After getting a good foothold, I made it up to the top rock. We stayed for awhile. I climbed some other rocks, and then laid out in the sun, while my friend tried to light a cigarette with the wind blowing it out several times.
We went down the very steep alternative trail, that leads to the fire road. We were not interested in the short, rocky way back, because the lines of people waiting to climb down the steep rock would be a pain. 2 miles down we reached the fire road, and after 2.5 miles on the fire road, we hit the trailhead. We walked the last .8 miles to the main parking lot and our car.