>DPI Team Builder Trip

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Enthusiastic LT Warren & CDR Carroll
Members of the CGD Five Prevention staff (CDR Kevin Carroll, LCDR Troy Luna and LT Kareen Warren) head outdoors for some fresh air and exercise as they hit the Old Rag Mountain Hiking Trail.
The Old Rag Mountain hike in the Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular hikes in the mid-Atlantic region. With many spectacular panoramic views, and one of the most challenging rock scrambles in the park, this trail is a favorite of many hikers.



No, we are NOT there yet!

 The directions were fairly simple:  1) Stay on the trail; 2) Stay hydrated; 3) Watch your footing; and 4) Don’t get too close to the edge.  Although many hikers prefer to do this loop counterclockwise, thereby tackling the rock scramble on the Ridge Trail on the downhill, we made the decision to hit the rock scramble first, and then have a leisurely stroll down the back side. The total length of the trail was 8 miles with an elevation gain of approx. 2,500 ft.

The trail gradually rose in grade and made nine switch backs before reaching the first of many view points.  From the first vista point to the west, the Ridge Trail become more rocky before reaching the main easterly vista on the ridge.   
At about the 2.5 mile mark, the trail becomes a rock scramble with narrow passages, and several spots requiring hand over hand climbing.


One of many breath taking views



From the easterly vista on the ridge start up the rock scramble, with the first obstacle a 12” deep small crack in the rock. Following the blue blazes passing around to the easterly side of the ridge, we ran into another crack where the trail meets a small cliff. From here, the trail became increasingly steep.  We had to go through a small cave, before reaching the minor summit where the trail turns left.

After passing around the minor northerly summit, the trail becomes less steep, but still requires rock-hopping for most of the remaining 0.3 miles to the true summit, where there are several points with 360° views.



Success at last!



Highest point on the Summit
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally reached the top of the summit.  Now it was time to reap the rewards for making it all the way to the top.  Breaking out PB&J sandwiches, we ate lunch, taking in all the scenic beauty. 
After a lengthy rest stop, we continued south along the Ridge Trail now descending for 0.3 miles to the junction of the Saddle Trail and Byrd’s Nest Shelter.  We descended onto the blue blazed Saddle Trail, then in 0.6 miles passed the Old Rag Shelter. Both shelters are available for day use only. From the Old Rag Shelter the trail widens and follows a forestry road for the 0.4 miles to the intersection of the Berry Hollow Fire road, Old Rag Fire Road, and Weakley Hollow Fire Road.
It’s all down hill from here!
We turned right downhill on the yellow blazed Weakley Hollow Fire Road. In 1.2 miles pass the Robertson Mountain Trail, and in another 200 yards the Corbin Hollow Trail. We continued along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for the remaining 0.8 miles until arriving back to the parking area.   

All in all, a good time was had by all.  In fact, plans are in the work for another hike in April 2011.  This time, length of the hike will be 13.3 miles with an elevation gain of 3,045 ft.