Reaching New Heights

My gym friends and I try to come up with new ways to challenge ourselves. After gaining confidence from consistently attending fitness classes and doing a few 5Ks, we decided to attempt tackling Old Rag, a circuit hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park with an elevation of 3,291 feet and a little more than eight miles in length. None of us had ever done the trail before. We headed out early in the morning excited, but slightly weary of the unknown.

Our backpacks were packed…

  • hydrating beverages (check)
  • health bar and salty snacks (check)
  • peanut butter sandwich (you don’t want food that can go funky in hours of heat) (check)
  • sunscreen (check)
  • bug spray (check)
  • Band-Aids (check)
  • extra socks (check)
  • hand wipes (check)
  • tissues (check)

All of our cell phones had no service once we reached Front Royal (Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T), so we had to guess the remainder of our driving route. Fast-forward 45 minutes later when we finally found the parking lot. We hopped out of the car and walked the mile to the starting point of the hike. There are two access points to choose. We took Ridge Trail, which proved to be the best because you start off energized on the side with all the boulders and end worn out on the side that’s a rocky dirt trail. We stopped along the hike to enjoy the beautiful views, recharge with lunch and incorporate a few of the moves we learned in class like crab walk, planks and partner squats. We encountered some personal challenges along the way, but stayed strong in our team mentality of encouraging each other. We successfully completed the hike in a little more than six hours. Exhausted, but proud, we made plans to return and do the hike again in the fall to observe the vivid colors of the season.

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