sneak peak: old rag
I did two crazy things while hiking Old Rag this weekend:
- I threw a temper tantrum near the peak.
- I ran the last mile.
Forget the first one, forever. (Let’s never talk about it again, mmmk?) But did you read #2? I ran the last mile of the 9 mile hike that is Old Rag. As Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there!”
Wait. Wrong catchphrase.
“WHAT THE WHAT?!” There it is.
I can only claim temporary insanity (Zan would beg to differ on the “temporary.” See: crazy thing #1 that I did).
So here’s what happened…
Zan and I had reached the assumed summit and were starving and half-dead, ready to set up camp for lunch. We’d managed the 5 mile ascent without breaking off our limbs. We’d traversed the uneven terrain and navigated the extensive class 3 rock scrambling section leading to the top. We’d done all that without collapsing even once (there was that one rock that I hallucinated to be a bed, but that’s neither here nor there). We scrambled to the tip-top of a super duper high rock and took in the 360 degree view. For 20 seconds.
I took two photos, circling and cheerily announced, “Ready for my sammie!” and began the slow, painful descent to a sitting position, before I realized no one was listening. I think a few kind tree branches leaned in, lending a leafy ear. Zan was 20 feet ahead, hiking onward.
I called out. “Zan! (Zan! Zan!)” I yelled three times to create my own cool mountain peak echo.
“Where ya goin’?” I was casual, cool, laser eyes locked into the back of his pack, that held my sammie.
Yes, I nodded. Sure, I see. He saw a higher peak that way (point). This isn’t the summit.
I grunted back.
“I don’t WANNA go. THIS is the summit. UGHHH SAMMIE GIVE ME SAMMIE.” Grunt. Grunt.
(Our communication talents are unique and should not be tried at home.)
He had the sammies, and so what could I do? I gave a reverential salute to my perfect peak and the breeze hugged me in return. We scrambled, climbed, scraped hands, skipped rocks, held on to branches, scooted through crevices…
…and finally arrived where Zan had grunted and pointed – to the “summit over there.” It was an astounding… clump of barren, brown trees obscuring the view on all sides.****
I HRMPHD, loudly, in his direction.
Zan HRMPHD back.
We HRMPHD and HRMPHD.
Two hikers passed us, probably thinking, “By golly, those two need a sammie.” That’s what I was thinking.
You know that point when you’re too tired to see the solution that’s right in front of you? We were so ungodly far beyond that point.
I broke off a branch and threw it.
He tore off the tree trunk and chucked it over the edge.
We beat our chests.
We slept standing.
We woke still furious.
I finally regained enough energy to properly stomp my foot.
I whined. “I just need a hug.” (And a damn sammie on a beautiful overlook, but I kept that to myself, in the name of compromise and conflict resolution. I truly handled the argument like a totally sane adult.)
I checked the time.
4.5 minutes had passed.
We walked back 50 yards, and alas, a perfect picnic peak shone bright and glimmering in the afternoon sun and we had a wonderful, quiet picnic… and then I played like a 4-year-old on the rocks and made Zander take 100 photos of me doing so.
Ahem, where was I?
Oh right, the time I ran a mile on a 9 mile hike (I thought we promised to never talk about that other thing?!).
We reached the fire road, finally, oh god, after Zan had destroyed his tendonitis plagued knees, and my body could not take one more single step downwards (seriously, I’d rather climb up than down any day any time any where – YOU NAME THE PLACE). The fire road is 2.5 miles. It’s the longest 2.5 miles of anyone’s life, or at least the lives of people who are not in spectacular shape and are very tired after summiting Old Rag.
This is the road that never ends… yes, it goes on and on my friends!
I made it through the first 1.5 miles without too much of a problem (except for a desperate need to pee that ended in a trail crouch – high five to all women!). We reached the trail head, were in the home stretch, had only a mile to go, and the damn fire road, it had the nerve to veer downhill. I don’t know what came over me. It was too much to place one foot in front of the other, baby step like, so I slowly picked up my pace until I was jogging.
It felt so much better to jog downhill than to walk. So I kept jogging.
And when the land flattened out, I kept jogging.
And when the trail turned into the paved road leading the way to the parking lot, I didn’t stop running.
A man walking his dog, white beard and all (does Santa have a mountain home in Lurray, Virginia?), laughed as I ran past. “Didn’t get enough of a workout on Old Rag?!”
I kept running, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”
Then I was at the parking lot, and then I was at the car, and then, I fell down beneath a tree and fell asleep for 100 hours.
Okay, that happened 3 hours later at 7pm at my house.
But I did take weird photos of myself, in my deathlike state, post 8 mile hike, post 1 mile run.
Zan caught up after walking like a sane person, looked at me lying pathetically immobile on the ground, shook his head and said, “You’re crazy, and I love you.”
****I’d like to note that no matter what Zan says, we did not find the true peak 10 minutes after our lunch, and there was certainly not a sign leading that way, and it was definitely not an even higher, better view-affording outlook with picnic spots. NO MATTER WHAT ZAN SAYS.