Fondly recalling Old Rag
from a time not as 'busy'
As I read Frank Green's recent front-page column about how the popular hiking spot Old Rag Mountain might require tickets for access, I recalled several hikes to the top, the first with my then-11-year-old son. I had heard that the path got busy, so I set my alarm for 4 a.m., bundled my sleepy son into the car and headed west to Shenandoah National Park. The sun was just coming up when we entered the empty upper parking lot.
Soon we were ascending the switchback trail through the forest. My son loved the rock scrambling as we neared the top and encountered our first human since leaving the parking lot 2½ hours earlier. The man, who was camping in the park, was climbing and rappelling from one of the rock faces. My son and I ate our snacks, jumped around on rocks, took pictures and began our descent, which is when we met the first climbers to follow us up the mountain.
That was 25 years ago. I guess the definition of "busy" back then wasn't what it is today.