As some of you may recall, the first hike I did when I got here was Old Rag, an 8.8 mile circuit that features a one mile "rock scramble" to the summit, and enjoys a reputation as one of (if not the) most strenuous hikes in Shenandoah National Park.
|Old Rag seen from the top of Hawksbill Mountain|
Last weekend, I decided to hike Old Rag again. I thought it would be a good way to see if the "farm fitness program" actually worked. It was a beautiful day - sunny, cloudless, highs in the low 70's. The fall foliage was promising to pack in the tourists, so I went early and reached the trail head at 9 a.m.
The hike was absolutely stunning, between the blue sky, the purple mountains, and the fiery leaves. I went at the perfect time of day, and passed relatively few people on my hike - far fewer than back in April, actually - which allowed me to enjoy everything in peace.
As for the farm fitness program... all I can say is that it has been a resounding success. I certainly wasn't in poor shape when I started here, but I had to take frequent breathers on my first trip to the summit. This time, I didn't have to take any. (I did stop a few times to take pictures, though.) After, I had a bit of soreness in my upper arms and back, but it was gone a day later.
Perhaps most telling is that I shaved an hour off my total hike time, going from five hours to four.
I'm so pleased with myself, in fact, that I'm going back for thirds tomorrow.