On Tuesday, September 24, our teams from the Inn at Willow Grove, Vintage restaurant, Mill House Spa and Forked on Main took a hike… literally.
Our small town of Orange, Virginia is ideally situated for outdoor enthusiasts. Thirty minutes from our door, we have outdoor “play spaces” like Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and the Rapidan River. Tourists and leaf peepers can take in all that the Virginia Foothills have to offer through hiking, biking, kayaking, fly fishing, golfing and even skydiving or hot air ballooning. Our general manager happens to be a huge outdoor enthusiast so this year’s team-building activity was to hike Old Rag.
The Old Rag Mountain hike in the Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular hikes in the mid-Atlantic region. It is 9.1 miles in length and features one of the most challenging rock scrambles in the entire 196,000 acre park. It took our small group about six hours, with a break for lunch, beginning at 9 am and concluding around 3 pm. We started off with a lot of spring in our step as we left the parking lot but came home with sore knees (most of us hover around “middle-age” so going downhill is not quite as easy as it once was!).
The trail starts off as any hike would, with a switchback uphill woods walk. A couple hours into the trek, we met with the rock scrambles. I’ve lived in the mid-Atlantic region most of my life and practically grew up in the woods, but I’ve not encountered rock scrambles as exciting as those on Old Rag. After several creative contortions and a lot of teamwork, we all managed to get up, over, under, in between and through the caves, staircases and scrambles by following the blue blazes that mark the desired path. We stopped to refuel with our packed lunches at the top of Summit Ridge and take in the panoramic views.
After lunch we pushed onward, or rather downward. The Saddle Trail winds past two shelters before widening into the more gradual fire road. We passed two streams, but due to drought the water level is low and we didn’t see many trout. In fact, we didn’t see much wildlife at all, much to my chagrin. Perhaps we were too loud… we enjoyed lots of laughs, music, conversation and had a really great fall day.
If you would like to replicate our experience, we’re happy to share more information about Old Rag Mountain as well as other outdoor activities in our surrounding areas!
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