I woke up in a dark and unfamiliar room. I slept well for having spent the night on the floor. The house we were staying in was empty and on the market, but perfect as a base camp for our little Summit Saturday. You could see the mountains from the front door, the sky turning pink and gold as we threw our sleeping bags in the back of my car and started making our way to the trailhead. The air was chilly enough that we ran the heat on our feet but I kept the window cracked because the morning smelled fresh; like dew, like new, like fall. I felt really alive.

Lately I've felt called to the mountains; more so than ever before. I've been spending a lot of time in the woods after school picking my way over rocks and sticks, happy just to be in the woods, not hiking so much as wandering. I can't really explain why other than it feels good. 

This morning was different, however, because there was a destination in mind: The Summit of Old Rag Mountain.

I'd read about it and seen pictures but more importantly, this was another one of those places my grandparents loved to go. The Dad says they talked about it all the time so I was stoked to see it with my own two eyes. I kept thinking that maybe my Gran had stepped on THIS stone or maybe she'd sat down on THIS boulder or maybe grabbed onto this same exact tree! It was hard not to imagine her telling me to be careful as I crept toward the edge to get a better view. I wonder if it's normal, sometimes, to hear the constant chatter in my head that I do.

Anyway a couple hours of going up and this is what we saw. I kept saying "Dude! This is the Colorado of Virginia! Duuuude!" It was awesome! And more challenging than I thought it would be. Parts of the rock scrambling sections require you to hoist yourself up, wiggle through tight spots and lower yourself into little places. It took a few pieces of my skin but it was more than worth it. I can't wait to go back.

Time to make a little more coffee but thanks to everyone that's voted for my photo so far in the National Park's Centennial Photo Contest. There's a week left in the voting and you can play once a day. Here's the link in case you have the time. Thank you again.

Erin

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